Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Family Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Trent S. Parker


This study examined how parental divorce impacts emerging adults’ familial relationships, romantic relationships, and development to build a basis for understanding emerging adult experiences. The participant sample consisted of 8 females between the ages of 19 and 24 (M = 21.6). A qualitative transcendental or psychological phenomenological research method was used. 90-minute interviews were conducted focusing on romantic relationships, family relationships, reactions and thoughts of parental divorce, and self-perception. NVIVO was used to allow a “bottom-up” design, emergent design, and interpretive inquiry for data analysis. Three themes emerged from the data: impacts of family dynamics, effects of developmental stage, and self-identity and interpersonal relationships. Results are relevant for Marriage and Family Therapists working within a systems perspective, by providing information on how the experience of parental divorce influences emerging adults’ state of homeostasis, as well as beliefs and attitudes about romantic relationships.