Exploring the lived experiences of young adults’ sibling relationships after parental divorce: a retrospective study
For a significant amount of years, divorce has been a popular research topic in social science literature, with the focus within this topic mainly being on the parent-child relationship after parental divorce. Very little research, however, has focused on the sibling relationship after parental divorce. With the sibling relationship being one of the longest lasting relationships in people's lives, it is important to gain a better understanding of how experiences regarding this relationship could change after parental divorce. The current study therefore aimed to explore and achieve a better understanding of young adults‟ lived experiences of sibling relationships after parental divorce in childhood. It further aimed to explore whether parental divorce changes the experience of sibling relationships and, if so, how it changes and what aspects contribute to those changes. A phenomenological research design was used. Purposive sampling was used as the sampling criteria are narrowly described. The final sample for the study included six participants, of which one was male and five female. Data collection took place in the form of a demographic questionnaire and in-depth interviews. Field notes (as part of the bracketing process) were taken throughout the research study; in this way, possible bias within the study was interpreted and countered. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Important themes that were identified included: conflict between siblings, which included increased experiences of conflict and positive experiences in terms of conflict; the feeling of closeness, which included support and shared experiences, open and improved communication, and gratitude for the sibling relationships; and lastly, inter-relational learning. As it was difficult to find any studies pertaining to this topic in a South African context, this study serves as one of the first conducted in South Africa. Therefore, the study stands as a basis for future research studies. It identified the importance of the sibling relationship after parental divorce, as well as the changed experiences that took place after parental divorce. Additionally, when therapeutic programmes are designed regarding parental divorce, these findings could serve as an essential consideration.
- Health Sciences