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Adult children of divorce sought for UW-Stevens Point study
Developing a new relationship in mid or later life can bring the excitement of new interests, new hobbies, maybe even new ways of looking at the world and politics.
If it’s your parent who is going through that transformation, you may be thinking: “What have you done to my dad?”
The effect on adult children when parents remarry is being studied by Sylvia Mikucki-Enyart, assistant professor of interpersonal communications at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She is examining the issues of uncertainty and adult children’s communication during late-life stepfamily formation after parents divorce.
Mikucki-Enyart is recruiting participants for the research. Individuals who were age 18 or older and living independently when their parents’ divorced and subsequently remarried are invited to participate.
Interviews will be conducted by phone, and participants will receive a small stipend. Please email [email protected] for more information.
This study is a follow-up to research published earlier this year on adult children of parents who divorce later in life. Mikucki-Enyart was the lead researcher of the study, which involved in-depth interviews with 25 adult children who experienced late-life parental divorce. They ranged in age from 18 to 43 when their parents were divorced. Their parents had been divorced for an average of six years and been married between 19 and 47 years.
“The perception is divorce is not as hard if you’re an adult. It’s still extremely hard for them,” she said. Adult children whose parents divorce later in life grapple with a complexity of issues and uncertainty, she found.
An uptick in gray divorce – among those age 50 and older – marks a shift in family roles, boundaries and closeness. The consequences of divorce on adolescents are well documented. The experiences and consequences on children who are adults when their parents divorced has received less attention.
Ultimately, her goal is to assist those adjusting to late-life divorce. She hopes to develop resources to more effectively manage communication patterns and make relationships stronger. “It’s OK to feel uncertain. How can we provide support to help adult children navigate the unknowns and talk openly about sensitive issues between generations?”