Adjustment of Adult Children of Divorce: A Comparative Analysis


Emily A. Kerr

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Capstone

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Lavita Nadkarni

First Committee Member

Shelly Smith-Acuña

Second Committee Member

Shelley Bresnick


This article examines the unique experiences of young adult children ages 18-29 as they navigate their lives after parental divorce. Seven participants were interviewed using questions adapted from the Adult Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (ASRQ) (Lanthier, Stocker & Furman, 1997), as well as those developed after review of current literature on the topic. The purpose of this study was to discover whether the presence of a positive sibling relationship was a protective factor for adult children during and directly after parental divorce. The procedure included an examination of common and differing experiences of the adult child of divorce through the exploration and analysis of narratives. These narratives were provided by subjects who identified a positive relationship with a sibling during the parental divorce, and subjects identifying as only-children. Results from this study indicate that adult children of divorce often feel most supported and comforted by the simple feeling of sharing the experience. It was found that a sibling is not necessarily a protective factor, however, a sibling seems to provide an unparalleled shared experience other forms of support cannot. Further analysis of the results was then used to examine the clinical implications for those providing services for this population.


Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


38 pages

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