Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family, Consumer, and Human Development


Thorana S. Nelson


This study explores one aspect of the divorce process, divorce disclosure, to learn more about adult children's perceptions of that experience. Research questions examined participants' perceptions of how they were informed of their parents' divorce, their reactions to the news, and also how they would have preferred to have been told. Within this framework, the study additionally looks at similarities and differences between the experiences of siblings. Twenty siblings from eight different families were interviewed.

The most significant findings were that divorce disclosure occurred most often with only one parent present with most participants being informed in a manner different than their siblings. Furthermore, initial reactions to the news were related to the perception of conditions being relatively better or worse after the divorce, and although participants had clear preferences for divorce disclosure, they questioned whether those preferences would have been possible with their parents.