The experience of living in a three-generation household after an adult daughter's divorce

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/288906
Title:
The experience of living in a three-generation household after an adult daughter's divorce
Author:
Peterson, Donna Jean
Issue Date:
1998
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This study utilized a phenomenological approach to describe the experience of living in a three-generation household after an adult daughter's divorce for members of each generation--divorcing mothers, grandparents, and grandchildren. Topics addressed included: characterizations of divorcing mother-parent relationships and grandparent-grandchild relationships, redefinition of relationship boundaries, and positives and negatives associated with this living arrangement. Divorcing custodial mothers in three-generation households were recruited from a mandated parent education program for divorcing parents in southeastern Arizona. At least one member from each generation in the household participated. Interviews were conducted with 25 individuals in eight families (eight divorcing mothers, nine grandparents, eight grandchildren). Data analysis followed Giorgi's (1985) technique. Results suggested that the redefinition of relationship roles and boundaries (intimacy issues) and the resolution of power issues led to positive relationships and experiences. In the one family doing poorly, numerous instances illustrated the divorcing mother's lack of power within the household. The divorcing mother-parent relationship boundaries had become more hierarchical since coresiding, and the grandparents had overstepped the boundary between "parent" and "grandparent." The resulting tension caused stress for all generations. In the four families who fell between doing poorly and well, the renegotiation of intimacy boundaries had positive effects in terms of improved relationships since coresiding. Power boundaries were still being renegotiated. Again, divorcing mother-parent relationships had hierarchical boundaries, and grandparents had crossed the line between parenting and grandparenting. However, in these families, this may have been due to the divorcing mothers' negative reactions to their separations. In such situations, having grandparents temporarily take on parenting functions for some period of time may be beneficial. These grandparents did express a desire to return to less hierarchical relationships and become more of a "grandparent" than "parent." In the three families doing well, intimacy boundaries did not require renegotiation because the relationships had always been close and supportive. These families were the only ones to describe the value of extended families and family activities. When power issues did arise, family members handled them quickly. Although there was some grandparental. interference in discipline, these grandparents were viewed as "stereotypical" grandparents.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Psychology, Social.; Sociology, Individual and Family Studies.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Family and Consumer Resources
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Christensen, Donna Hendrickson

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.titleThe experience of living in a three-generation household after an adult daughter's divorceen_US
dc.creatorPeterson, Donna Jeanen_US
dc.contributor.authorPeterson, Donna Jeanen_US
dc.date.issued1998en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis study utilized a phenomenological approach to describe the experience of living in a three-generation household after an adult daughter's divorce for members of each generation--divorcing mothers, grandparents, and grandchildren. Topics addressed included: characterizations of divorcing mother-parent relationships and grandparent-grandchild relationships, redefinition of relationship boundaries, and positives and negatives associated with this living arrangement. Divorcing custodial mothers in three-generation households were recruited from a mandated parent education program for divorcing parents in southeastern Arizona. At least one member from each generation in the household participated. Interviews were conducted with 25 individuals in eight families (eight divorcing mothers, nine grandparents, eight grandchildren). Data analysis followed Giorgi's (1985) technique. Results suggested that the redefinition of relationship roles and boundaries (intimacy issues) and the resolution of power issues led to positive relationships and experiences. In the one family doing poorly, numerous instances illustrated the divorcing mother's lack of power within the household. The divorcing mother-parent relationship boundaries had become more hierarchical since coresiding, and the grandparents had overstepped the boundary between "parent" and "grandparent." The resulting tension caused stress for all generations. In the four families who fell between doing poorly and well, the renegotiation of intimacy boundaries had positive effects in terms of improved relationships since coresiding. Power boundaries were still being renegotiated. Again, divorcing mother-parent relationships had hierarchical boundaries, and grandparents had crossed the line between parenting and grandparenting. However, in these families, this may have been due to the divorcing mothers' negative reactions to their separations. In such situations, having grandparents temporarily take on parenting functions for some period of time may be beneficial. These grandparents did express a desire to return to less hierarchical relationships and become more of a "grandparent" than "parent." In the three families doing well, intimacy boundaries did not require renegotiation because the relationships had always been close and supportive. These families were the only ones to describe the value of extended families and family activities. When power issues did arise, family members handled them quickly. Although there was some grandparental. interference in discipline, these grandparents were viewed as "stereotypical" grandparents.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectPsychology, Social.en_US
dc.subjectSociology, Individual and Family Studies.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineFamily and Consumer Resourcesen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorChristensen, Donna Hendricksonen_US
dc.identifier.proquest9912059en_US
dc.identifier.bibrecord.b39104503en_US
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