The Role of Individuation Processes in the Launching of Children into Adulthood

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The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which levels of individuation and separation in adulthood would predict adjustment to the empty nest transition. Two-hundred and twenty-seven adults (M age = 48) who had experienced the empty nest within the last year completed a battery of scales assessing individuation from family of origin, spouse, and children as well as measures of adjustment, role strain, coping, and sex role attitudes. MANOVAS and hierarchical regression analyses suggested that levels of individuation from one's family of origin, spouse, and children differentially affect one's adjustment to, and coping with, the experience ... continued below

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vii, 144 leaves

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Hobdy, Juli August 1999.

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  • Hobdy, Juli

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Description

The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which levels of individuation and separation in adulthood would predict adjustment to the empty nest transition. Two-hundred and twenty-seven adults (M age = 48) who had experienced the empty nest within the last year completed a battery of scales assessing individuation from family of origin, spouse, and children as well as measures of adjustment, role strain, coping, and sex role attitudes. MANOVAS and hierarchical regression analyses suggested that levels of individuation from one's family of origin, spouse, and children differentially affect one's adjustment to, and coping with, the experience of launching of the youngest child from the home. Empty nest parents who are less differentiated from their own parents, from their spouses, and from their children reported a more negative impact of the empty nest in terms of more overall stress and role strain, more negative mood, and less life satisfaction than did empty nest parents who were more differentiated with regard to parents, spouse, and children. Results regarding the impact of individuation on empty nest adjustment regarding sex role attitudes were less clear cut, and may reflect cohort differences in work role opportunities for women and a parallel redefinition of the work role/parent role dichotomy for men. The data also suggest that women and men experience the empty nest transition differently, with women experiencing more distress and negative mood, supporting the notion that women, who define themselves in a context of relationship may experience more distress at a time when significant relationships are in flux. However, additional results which indicated significantly more proactive and adaptive coping strategies for women as compared to men suggest that women can meet the demands of the new definitions of themselves and their relationships in a relatively positive and adaptive way. The results suggest that present as well as past experiences of separation and individuation impact how one experiences and copes with the empty nest. The findings lend support to the importance of early, successful individuation experiences as possible precursors of how successfully individuals negotiate other developmental experiences involving separation and loss.

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vii, 144 leaves

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UNT Theses and Dissertations

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  • August 1999

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  • March 26, 2014, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Sept. 26, 2014, 11:14 a.m.

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Hobdy, Juli. The Role of Individuation Processes in the Launching of Children into Adulthood, dissertation, August 1999; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc278703/: accessed April 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .