"I'm finally allowed to be me": Parent-Child Estrangement and Psychological Wellbeing

Linden, Audrey and Sillence, Elizabeth (2021) "I'm finally allowed to be me": Parent-Child Estrangement and Psychological Wellbeing. Families, Relationships and Societies, 10 (2). pp. 325-341. ISSN 2046-7435

Linden, Sillence - Parent-Child Estrangement and Psychological Wellbeing AAM.pdf - Accepted Version

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1332/204674319x15647593365505


Estrangement from a family member is characterised by lack of trust and emotional intimacy, and often includes ceased communication and contact. Existing estrangement research suggests adult children report three main reasons for estrangement from a parent: abuse, poor parenting and betrayal. However, research into estrangement and experiences of psychological wellbeing is sparse. This study used semi-structured interviews to explore this with 7 female participants with experiences of parental maltreatment, aged 24–37. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis resulted in 4 main themes: experiences of contact; gaining agency; navigating relationships; and navigating estrangement. Results suggest estrangement can be experienced both positively and negatively in terms of psychological wellbeing. Positive experiences provide insight into maintenance of estrangement, and suggest processes of benefit-finding following stressful life events can be applicable to estrangement. Practice implications for those working with adult children include considering reasons for estrangement, and facilitating sense-making to assist with coming to terms with estrangement.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Estrangement; interpretative phenomenological analysis; interviews; well-being
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2019 17:25
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 09:15
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/40399

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