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Regrouping at the parental home : a grounded theory of female adult children's experiences of returning.. 2000

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Regrouping at the Parental Home: A Grounded Theory of Female Adult Children's Experiences of Returning Home to Live by Michele A. Paseluikho B.A. (Honours) The University of Winnipeg (1989) M.Sc. The University of Calgary (1992) A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA MARCH 2000 © Michele A. Paseluikho, 2000 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of fr^^/frM A / ^ ^ Z ^ / ^ y . The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ / ^ Date DE-6 (2/88) 1 1 A B S T R A C T REGROUPING A T T H E PARENTAL HOME: A GROUNDED THEORY OF F E M A L E A D U L T C H I L D R E N ' S E X P E R I E N C E S OF RETURNING HOME TO L I V E The purpose of t h i s q u a l i t a t i v e research study was to describe female adult children's experiences when they return to the parental home to l i v e , and to develop theory to explain the processes and consequences involved i n the return to the parental home. Primary data sources included 1 1/2 hour audiotaped, semi-structured interviews with 15 female adult c h i l d r e n who had returned to the parental home to l i v e . Other sources of data included individual and conjoint interviews with parents and daughters from a subset of four f a m i l i e s , and f i e l d notes about the interviews. Grounded theory methodology (Strauss & Corbin, 1990, 1998) was used. Transcribed interviews were systematically analyzed to develop a the o r e t i c a l model, i n which the core s o c i a l and psychological process was l a b e l l e d "regrouping." In response to l i f e events and personal choices, women return to the parental home to regroup--to recuperate, reenergize, contemplate and pursue l i f e p l a n s . Their intention i s to enhance personal well-being and to secure a better q u a l i t y l i f e i n the future. Regrouping i s embedded i n the l i f e context of female adult children's s p e c i f i c l i f e - e v e n t s and choices, l i v i n g environments, family and s o c i a l relationships, and so c i o c u l t u r a l s c r i p t s - - a l l conditions that can hinder or f a c i l i t a t e the process. Regrouping i s a c y c l i c a l rather than a 1 X 1 l i n e a r process. Female adult children who had returned to the parental home did not experience a simple, uncomplicated l i n e a r forward movement towards attaining valued personal goals. Rather, they experienced an o s c i l l a t i n g pattern of " f a l t e r i n g " and "advancing" i n t h e i r e f f o r t s to r e a l i z e valued goals. This experience has implications for the development of a f l u c t u a t i n g sense of s e l f or self-image, the f u l f i l m e n t of personal goals, the quality of the experience as p o s i t i v e or negative, and for family r e l a t i o n s . The contribution of the the o r e t i c a l model to the l i t e r a t u r e i s the discovery that returning home i n adulthood may be a strategy for managing change and t r a n s i t i o n i n one's l i f e and for attaining c e r t a i n l i f e s p a n development tasks (e.g., individuating from parents, establishing a career, and att a i n i n g f i n a n c i a l s e c u r i t y ) . Implications for counselling practice, and the self-help needs of adults who have returned home to l i v e are noted. Suggestions for f a c i l i t a t i n g returning adult children's personal development ( i . e . , c l a r i f y i n g personal goals, weighing the pros and cons of returning and remaining at the parental home, maintaining self-esteem, seeking s o c i a l support) and f a c i l i t a t i n g family r e l a t i o n s . ( i . e , having r e a l i s t i c expectations of parents, being s e n s i t i v e to mothers, negotiating privacy and boundaries, managing c r o s s - c u l t u r a l dynamics) are discussed. It i s suggested that future research extend the app l i c a t i o n of the theory to men, as well as more diverse ethnic groups. i v TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract i i Table of Contents i v Acknowledgements i x CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION 1 Rationale for Selecting t h i s Research Topic 1 Purpose and S p e c i f i c Aims 4 Researcher's Metatheoretical Framework and Worldview 4 Constructionism 6 Contextualism 9 Researcher' s Background 10 CHAPTER I I : LITERATURE REVIEW 12 Patterns of Parent-Adult Child Coresidence 13 Reasons for Adult Children Returning Home 15 Predominant Conceptual Frameworks 16 So c i a l Exchange 16 Life-Span Development and Transition to Adulthood 19 Implications for Parent-Adult Child Coresidence 21 Consequences of Parent-Adult Child Coresidence 25 Impact on Family Relations 25 Expected Variation i n Coresidence Outcomes 36 C r i t i c i s m of the Research on Parent-Adult Child Coresidence 39 What about Implications for the Adult Child's Career Development? 40 What about Implications for the Adult Child's Sense of Self? 44 Concluding Comments 45 CHAPTER I I I : METHOD 48 Rationale for a Grounded Theory Approach 48 Overview of the Grounded Theory Method 51 The Emergent Design 53 Sampling 57 I n i t i a l Sample Selection 57 Theoretical Sampling 59 Description of Study Sample ..60 Procedure 64 Data C o l l e c t i o n 64 Interviewing Format 65 E t h i c a l Considerations 66 Data Analysis 67 Memoing 72 The Analytic Group 72 C r i t e r i a for Judging Rigor 73 Limitations of Grounded Theory Method 74 CHAPTER IV: STUDY FINDINGS 79 Regrouping at the Parental Home: A Grounded Theory of Female Adult Children's Experiences of Returning Home to Live 80 Regrouping at the Parental Home Defined 84 Regrouping's Life-Span Developmental Objectives 87 S t r i v i n g for Financial Security 87 Pursuing Career-Educational Plans 90 Relational-Individuation with Parents 94 The C y c l i c a l and Dynamic Regrouping Process 96 The Subprocesses of Faltering and Advancing 99 Fal t e r i n g 99 Advancing 103 The Trajectory .104 Conditions that Influence the Regrouping Process I l l Context of Pr e c i p i t a t i n g Life-Events I l l Personal Set-backs and Crises I l l Travel and Work Abroad 113 Decision to Change Aspects of One's L i f e 115 Context of Individual and Family Background 116 Context of Family Relationships 120 Context of the Living-Environment 127 Context of Social Relations and Friendships 131 Soc i e t a l Context 133 Consequences of Regrouping at the Parental Home 136 The Status of Attaining Regrouping Objectives 137 Attaining Financial Security 138 Pursuing Career-Educational Plans 138 Individuating i n Parent-Child Relationship 140 Quality of the Regrouping at Home Experience 141 Impact on Sense of Self 146 v i Impact on Relationships with Parents 149 Summary of Study Findings 156 CHAPTER V: DISCUSSION. 161 Contribution to the Extant Literature 161 About the Female Adult Children i n t h i s Study 162 Re v i s i t i n g Reasons for Adult Children Returning Home 164 Regrouping at the Parental Home and Life-Span Development 167 Managing Transitions i n Adulthood 175 St r i v i n g for a Better L i f e and Future 179 Regrouping Goals and Success 179 Regrouping and Change 185 Possible Selves 188 The Enduring Parent-Child Connection 190 Help Exchange 191 Study Limitations 191 Implications for Counselling Practice and Self-Help 198 F a c i l i t a t i n g Personal Development 199 C l a r i f y i n g Personal Goals 199 Weighing the Pros and Cons 200 Maintaining One's Self-Esteem 201 Seeking Social Support 201 Shaping One's Environment 202 F a c i l i t a t i n g Family Relations 202 Having R e a l i s t i c Expectations of Parents ...202 Being Sensitive to Mothers 203 Privacy and Boundaries 204 Cross-Cultural Dynamics 204 Implications for Social Policy 205 Recommendations for Future Research.. 208 Concluding Remarks 210 REFERENCES 212 v i i APPENDICES Appendix A: Sample Advertisements i n Flyers and Media 223 Appendix B: Research Sample's Demographic Characteristics '. 224 Appendix C: Research Participant's Consent: Family Form 228 Appendix D: Research Participant's Consent: Individual Form 230 Appendix E: Demographic Questionnaire. 232 Appendix F: I n i t i a l Interview Guide 235 Appendix G: Revised Interview Guide for Daughters as the Study Progressed 236 Appendix H: Referrals for Research Participants 238 i V l l l LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Theoretical Schematic of Daughters' Regrouping at the Parental Home 239 i x ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would l i k e to acknowledge the contribution of the many people who made t h i s research project possible. I am gr a t e f u l to the women and parents who were w i l l i n g to come forward and share t h e i r innermost thoughts about t h e i r personal and private experiences with a "stranger." Their disclosures helped create a relevant theory of female adult children's experiences of returning to the parental home to l i v e ; one that may a s s i s t other "boomerang kids" i n the future. Special thanks to the chairperson of my supervisory d i s s e r t a t i o n committee, Dr. Richard Young, and to committee members, Dr. Katharyn May and Dr. John Friesen for t h e i r wisdom, support, and timely feedback throughout the d i s s e r t a t i o n process. Their words of praise and encouragement, "Looks good. Keep going!" s t i l l rings i n my ears. Moreover, I f e l t t r u l y fortunate to have the invaluable assistance of the grounded theory analytic group: Karen Flood, Dr. Amandah Hoogbruin, Dr. Alard Malek, and Kamaljit Sidhu, led by Dr. Katharyn May. The analytic group was a welcome source of i n t e l l e c t u a l and emotional support that energized and i n s p i r e d me during every step of the research process. I also appreciated Milda Kazlauskaz for transcribing some of the interviews, Diana Kendall for formatting my table, and Brian Guanzon for formatting my figure. At the beginning of the project, I was very appreciative that Dr. Barbara M i t c h e l l was so w i l l i n g to share information about the work that she and her colleagues, Dr. E l l e n Gee, Dr. Jean Veevers, and Dr. Andrew Wister, were doing on the boomerang kid phenomenon at Simon Fraser University. She had mailed me several papers that she and her colleagues had presented at conferences. At that time, i t was my f i r s t glimpse of research on the Canadian front. I would be remiss i f I did not acknowledge the sources of funding that enabled my doctoral education. U.B.C. awarded me several University Graduate Fellowships, and the Counselling Psychology Department provided opportunities to research and to teach. Most of a l l , my husband Michael Parsons, was a patient and encouraging friend to me during t h i s project. He never f a i l e d to believe i n me, e s p e c i a l l y when I thought t h i s project would never end. I also appreciated his i n i t i a l r eaction to the theory being generated since he had been a "boomerang kid " himself for several years. His reaction, coupled with the feedback of Dr. Richard Young, Dr. Katharyn May, and the an a l y t i c group were encouraging i n the e a r l y stages of theory development. Moreover, i n a pinch, he proved to be a very able proof-reader. F i n a l l y , my parents, Bernie and Cindy Paseluikho have been highly supportive of my academic career over the years. I hope to continue to make them proud i n my future endeavors. 1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Rationale for Selecting t h i s Research Topic A recent s o c i a l trend, the phenomenon of adult c h i l d r e n returning to the parental home to l i v e , has captured the attention of the popular media and s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s . In Canada and the United States young adults are remaining at home with t h e i r parents, others postpone leaving, and many others are returning home to coreside with t h e i r parents (Aquilano, 1 9 9 0 ; Boyd & Pryor, 1 9 8 9 ; DaVanzo & Goldscheider, 1 9 9 0 ; Forsyth & Eddington, 1 9 8 9 ; Gee, Mi t c h e l l , & Wister, 1 9 9 5 ; Glick & Lin, 1 9 8 6 ; Goldscheider & DaVanzo, 1 9 8 5 ; Goldscheider & Goldscheider, 1 9 9 4 ; Goldscheider & LeBourdais, 1 9 8 6 ; Grigsby & McGowan, 1 9 8 6 ; Heer, Hodge, & Felson, 1 9 8 6 ; Ward & Spitze, 1 9 9 6 ) . Using Canadian census data, Boyd and Norris ( 1 9 9 9 ) have documented that i n 1 9 9 6 , 47% of unmarried women and 56% of unmarried men, ages 20 to 3 4 , l i v e d at home with t h e i r parents. Despite t h i s important demographic trend, there i s a paucity of research s p e c i f i c a l l y examining adult children's experience of returning home to l i v e . The majority of the extant l i t e r a t u r e focuses on studying the impact of adult c h i l d r e n l i v i n g at home on parents. Parents' perceptions of f a m i l i a l r e l a t i o n s as sa t i s f a c t o r y or c o n f l i c t u a l , the impact on t h e i r marriages, and the factors that influence such outcomes have been empirically documented (Aquilano, 1 9 9 0 , 2 1991; Aquilano & Supple, 1991; Clemens & Axelson, 1985; Mi t c h e l l & Gee, 1996; Pillemar & Suitor, 1991; Suitor & Pillemar 1987, 1988, 1991; Umberson, 1992). The extant l i t e r a t u r e on parent-adult c h i l d coresidence has neglected to examine how returning to the parental home has impacted adult children's views of themselves, t h e i r family r e l a t i o n s , and t h e i r futures ( i . e . , career development; r e l a t i o n s h i p s ) . Moreover, the extant l i t e r a t u r e seldom distinguishes between coresiding adult children who have never l e f t home from those who have l e f t home and then have "returned" ( i . e . , Boyd & Norris, 1999). Researchers have c o l l o q u i a l l y referred to the l a t t e r as "boomerang kids" (Gee, Mit c h e l l , & Wister, 1995; Mi t c h e l l & Gee, 1996) and "renesters" (Johnson & Wilkinson, 1995). Similar to Veevers and Mitc h e l l (1998), i t i s asserted that returning to the parental home represents a d i s t i n c t form of coresidence that i s distinguishable from l a t e home-leaving or "delayed launching." I chose to study the phenomenon of adult c h i l d r e n returning to the parental home because i t s i g n i f i e s an important area of exploration i n i t s own r i g h t . The perceived reversal i n the t r a n s i t i o n to adulthood, normatively designated by the maintenance of an independent household, may have meaningful implications for adult children's l i v e s . Moreover, during my academic career I had been exposed to the compelling s t o r i e s of friends who had returned home to l i v e for various reasons ( i . e . , going back to school, divorce, looking for work afte r graduate school, f i n a n c i a l duress). I was often struck by how intense and consuming the experience seemed to be for them, and how i t often l e f t them f e e l i n g demoralized—despite t h e i r family's f i n a n c i a l and emotional support. It can be speculated that the experience of returning home to l i v e can be personally d i f f i c u l t for adult c h i l d r e n since i t may signal a t a c i t admission that "not a l l i s going well i n my l i f e " . L i t t l e i s known about adult children's i perceptions of the returning home experience, how i t f i t s with t h e i r l i f e o v e r a l l , and how they manage the experience. L i t t l e i s known about how t h i s experience influences adult children's perceptions of themselves--which may be exacerbated by pervasive and i m p l i c i t s o c i a l constructions of what i s considered successful or normative i n achieving adulthood i n North American culture; namely, l i v i n g independently of one's parents and successfully launching one's career i n order to maintain t h i s independent status. It seemed to me that counselling psychologists had something to o f f e r ; yet the actual research l i t e r a t u r e i s dominated by s o c i o l o g i s t s and demographers, with sparse contribution from counselling psychologists. I chose a q u a l i t a t i v e l i n e of inquiry to investigate the phenomenon of adult children returning home to l i v e . I t s rel i a n c e on interviews permits the exploration of the f u l l experience from participants' own points of views and t h e i r 4 i I own words. Hoshmand (1994) has observed that q u a l i t a t i v e methods are p a r t i c u l a r l y suited to uncovering how people make sense of t h e i r experience. Moreover, the grounded theory approach has the potential to produce conceptual models and •i theories that enhance proximity to the actual l i v e d experiences of participants; a form of i n t e r n a l v a l i d i t y that i s a strength of the grounded theory method. Purpose and S p e c i f i c Aims The purpose and s p e c i f i c aims of t h i s q u a l i t a t i v e research study were: l 1. To generate a theory that explains female adult children's experiences (positive and negative) of returning to the parental home to l i v e . 2. To describe the core s o c i a l and psychological processes that female adult children experience when they return to the parental home to l i v e . 3. To i d e n t i f y the factors that influence the q u a l i t y of female adult children's experience when they return to the parental home to l i v e . These questions are relevant to issues concerning women's personal, r e l a t i o n a l , and career development i n the family context. These issues are meaningful to theorists, researchers, and pra c t i t i o n e r s i n counselling psychology. Researcher's Metatheoretical Framework and Worldview This section explicates some of the primary t h e o r e t i c a l conceptualizations and assumptions that have guided my review ! of the l i t e r a t u r e , culminating i n the decision to pursue a q u a l i t a t i v e l i n e of inquiry. There i s a movement i n professional psychology that advocates that a s e l f - r e f l e x i v e stance to research and practice i s invaluable i n rendering t a c i t assumptions and b e l i e f s v i s i b l e (Hoshmand, 1994). The advantage of s e l f - r e f l e x i v i t y i s the enhanced capacity to reveal p o t e n t i a l biases and ideas that can influence one's research, p a r t i c u l a r l y given the post-modern assertion that a "subject-object dichotomy" i n s c i e n t i f i c inquiry does not e x i s t (Guba & Lincoln, 1994). The researcher's assumptions, experience, and t h e o r e t i c a l conceptualizations influence the research process and outcome. Findings are quite l i t e r a l l y "created" i n i n t e r a c t i o n among researcher and respondents (Hoshmand, 1994). Strauss and Corbin (1990, 1998) also assert that such assumptions can inadvertently reduce one's capacity for c r e a t i v i t y and discovery i n the research process and one must become sen s i t i z e d to how, unrecognized, they can a f f e c t one's i analysis of data. This implies that r e f l e x i v i t y plays a c e n t r a l r o l e i n the grounded theory approach. Indeed, unlike the phenomenologist, the grounded theory researcher i s not expected toi "bracket" or set aside e x i s t i n g t h e o r e t i c a l frameworks and assumptions, rather the s e n s i t i z i n g nature of the researcher's previous education and practice "forms I guidelines and reference points that the researcher uses to deductively' formulate questions that may then e l i c i t data that 6 leads to inductive concepts being formulated l a t e r " (Glaser, 1978, p. 39). Constructionism Engaging i n the process of s e l f - r e f l e x i v i t y has revealed several core aspects of myself... both a "metatheoretical framework" and a "world-view" that have guided the kinds of questions I ask and how I choose to address them. F i r s t , constructionism, as a metatheoretical framework subsumes various s i g n i f i c a n t ontological, epistemological, and methodological assumptions. Ontologically, " r e a l i t i e s " are considered to be multiple, intangible mental constructions that are s o c i a l l y and e x p e r i e n t i a l l y based, l o c a l and s p e c i f i c i n nature and dependent for t h e i r form and content on the i n d i v i d u a l people or groups holding the constructions (Guba & Lincoln, 1994). Implicit i s the notion that words, actions, and psychological phenomena derive meaning within a context; to analyze language or behaviour i n i s o l a t i o n of i t s context i s therefore meaningless. Gergen (1985) i s e x p l i c i t i n his b e l i e f that knowledge i s s o c i a l l y constructed, such that "the terms by which the world i s understood are s o c i a l a r t i f a c t s , products of h i s t o r i c a l l y situated interchanges among people" (p. 267). Schwandt (1994) elaborates upon t h i s notion, suggesting that i f knowledge i s one of the many coordinated a c t i v i t i e s of individuals, i t i s therefore subject to the same processes that characterize any human in t e r a c t i o n (e.g., communication, negotiation, c o n f l i c t , r h e t o r i c ) . The focus i n 7 s o c i a l constructionism i s on the c o l l e c t i v e generation of meaning as shaped by conventions of language and other s o c i a l processes. Hence, the cooperative enterprise of persons i n r e l a t i o n s h i p i s central (Gergen, 1985). This i s d i s t i n c t from r a d i c a l constructivism that focuses on the meaning making a c t i v i t y of the i n d i v i d u a l mind. The implications of such thinking are far-reaching. For instance, Hoshmand (1994) notes that the c o n s t r u c t i o n i s t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of theorizing i n psychology views psychological theories as the products of constructions that are s o c i a l l y and c u l t u r a l l y located. Strauss and Corbin (1994) concur that o n t o l o g i c a l l y , t h e o r e t i c a l concepts are not taken to be preexisting, natural categories. Such thinking may be considered r a d i c a l because i t eschews the notion of an "ultimate truth" since constructions are not considered to be more or l e s s "true" i n an absolute sense, rather they are considered to be more or less informed or sophisticated (Lincoln & Guba, 1994). Nonetheless, t h i s does not mean that I consider myself to be an a n t i r e a l i s t . It i s reasonable to presume that concepts and ideas are invented (as opposed to discovered), yet maintain that such "inventions" are intended to correspond to something ( i . e . , tangible e n t i t i e s — e v e n t s , persons, objects) i n the world. Lincoln and Guba draw the d i s t i n c t i o n between e x p e r i e n t i a l r e a l i t y (constructions) and ontological r e a l i t y (tangible e n t i t i e s ) (Schwandt, 1994). 8 Epistemologically, constructionism considers the nature of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the knower and the would-be-knower to be "transactional" and " s u b j e c t i v i s t . " This means that the investigator and the object of investigation are not considered "separate" but i n t r i n s i c a l l y and i n t e r a c t i v e l y linked so that "findings" are quite l i t e r a l l y created as the i n v e s t i g a t i o n proceeds (Guba & Lincoln, 1994). Who I am as a human being i s s i g n i f i c a n t , for what I bring to the research process i n terms of my background, values, gender, and c l i n i c a l t r a i n i n g as a therapist w i l l shape the research product... participants w i l l respond not only to the questions I pose to them, but to me interpersonally. Thus my c l i n i c a l t r a i n i n g i s e x p l i c i t l y acknowledged because I believe that i t w i l l have a meaningful influence on how I conduct my interviews and how I analyze my data; hopefully with more interpersonal s e n s i t i v i t y and s k i l l than a researcher without such t r a i n i n g . In my mind t h i s suggests that both values, ethics, and "voice" (both my own and the multiple perspectives of the p a r t i c i p a n t s ) have a more prominent position i n both the process and product of one's research endeavors. This viewpoint lends to a personal investment, even an o b l i g a t i o n as a s c i e n t i s t - p r a c t i t i o n e r , to create a "moral space" for research participants to share t h e i r s t o r i e s i n confidence, and without apprehension of being judged. As Strauss and Corbin (1994) state..."we have obligations to the actors we 9 have studied to " t e l l t h e i r s t o r i e s " to them and to others--to give them v o i c e - - a l b e i t i n the context of t h e i r own i n e v i t a b l e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s " (p. 281). Ultimately, the s o c i a l constructionist assertion that s o c i a l constructions tend to be e l i c i t e d and refined through human i n t e r a c t i o n lends i t s e l f to methodology that i s hermeneutical and d i a l e c t i c a l . Varying constructions are interpreted and compared and contrasted through dialogue with the purpose of a r r i v i n g at more informed, sophisticated, and consensual constructions than any of the preceding constructions; including those of the researcher (Guba & Lincoln, 1994). In grounded theory such dialogue or conversation i s centred on t h e o r e t i c a l analysis where "concepts are formulated and a n a l y t i c a l l y developed, conceptual relationships are posited--but we are emphasizing that they are i n c l u s i v e of the multiple perspectives of the actors" (Strauss & Corbin, 1994, p. 280). Contextualism Pepper (1942) has described contextualism as one of four mutually exclusive world hypotheses or t h e o r e t i c a l frameworks (the others include organicism, mechanism, and formism). The root metaphor of contextualism i s neither the machine nor the organism, i t i s the " h i s t o r i c event." In contextualism, every behaviour and incident i n the world i s an h i s t o r i c event. Therefore, change and novelty are accepted as fundamental i n a l l l e v e l s of analysis and that such change i s characterized 10 as "embedded" with change i n other l e v e l s ; changes i n one promote changes i n a l l . Therefore, phenomena are not considered s t a t i c , but dynamic. Phenomena are also understood as being " i n r e l a t i o n " or " i n transaction" with t h e i r context. This i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the world suggests a complexity and m u l t i p l i c i t y of i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s that are i r r e d u c i b l e . Moreover, development i s conceptualized i n contextual, processual, and r e l a t i o n a l terms rather than i n terms of uniform l i n e a r sequences (Steenbarger, 1991). Contextualism o f f e r s a h o l i s t i c view that stresses the dynamic i n t e r p l a y of forces that constitute a h i s t o r i c a l l y situated event i n the context of i t s b i o s o c i a l , c u l t u r a l , and e c o l o g i c a l environment. Within t h i s worldview there are epistemological implications as well, knowledge i s considered to be co- constituted by the act of knowing and i t s context. Thus, human inquiry must be sensitive to people's contexts i n order to be meaningful (Hoshmand, 1994). Researcher's Background The researcher i s an i n t e g r a l part of the q u a l i t a t i v e research process, and a few biographical notes seem i n order. I am a thirty-something, white female who has been born and raised i n Canada. I am a c l i n i c a l l y trained therapist who has worked primarily i n university settings with adults. In fact, over the years, a number of my c l i e n t s ' presenting issues had to do with the complications they experienced i n t h e i r l i v e s when returning home to l i v e with parents. Currently, I am a 11 private therapist who works primarily with women. I acknowledge that my ongoing involvement i n Dr. Richard Young's q u a l i t a t i v e research programme, on parent and adolescents' constructions of career development, has inspired a f i n e r appreciation of q u a l i t a t i v e research methodology. 12 CHAPTER I I L I T E R A T U R E REVIEW This chapter provides a representative review of the l i t e r a t u r e , relevant to the experience of adult c h i l d r e n returning to the parental home, that was conducted p r i o r to entering the f i e l d of study. The u t i l i z a t i o n of the extant l i t e r a t u r e p r i o r to beginning a grounded theory research project i s s u f f i c i e n t l y d i f f e r e n t from the use of the extant l i t e r a t u r e i n the quantitative paradigm that some informative words are i n order. Strauss and Corbin (1990, 1998) acknowledge that the researcher w i l l come to the grounded theory project with s u f f i c i e n t knowledge of the research l i t e r a t u r e to se n s i t i z e the researcher to core themes, categories, and ideas that recur i n the l i t e r a t u r e , without s t i f l i n g c r e a t i v i t y and discovery. The intent of the grounded theory method i s discovery, not to rework "received" theories or variables (categories). They caution that the researcher be wary of how unrecognized assumptions associated with the extant l i t e r a t u r e ' s theory and findings can influence one's analysis. Strauss and Corbin (1990) write: There i s no need to review a l l the l i t e r a t u r e beforehand (as i s frequently done by researchers trained i n other approaches), because i f we are to be e f f e c t i v e i n our analysis, then new categories w i l l emerge that we, nor anyone else, had thought about previously. We do not want to be so steeped i n the 13 l i t e r a t u r e as to be constrained and even s t i f l e d i n terms of creative e f f o r t s by our knowledge of i t ! ! Since discovery i s our purpose, we do not have beforehand knowledge of a l l the categories relevant to our theory (p. 50). Adhering to Strauss and Corbin's (1990, 1998) recommendations for how to use the extant l i t e r a t u r e i n a grounded theory approach, an evaluation of the conceptual frameworks and research findings that follows was intended to stimulate t h e o r e t i c a l s e n s i t i v i t y by i d e n t i f y i n g p o t e n t i a l categories and relationships around conditions that influence the returning home to l i v e experience, for how one manages the experience, and the consequences of what the experience i s l i k e . Such information sensitized me to what seemed important about the phenomenon being explored. Patterns of Parent-Adult Child Coresidence The phenomenon of increased parent-adult c h i l d coresidence has been documented i n Canada (Boyd & Pryor, 1989; Boyd & Norris, 1999; Gee, Mit c h e l l , & Wister, 1995), and i n the United States (DaVanzo & Goldscheider, 1990; Forsyth & Eddington, 1989; Glick & Lin, 1986; Goldscheider & Goldscheider, 1994; Grigsby & McGowan, 1986). Boyd and Norris' (1999) recent analysis of Canadian census data indicate that young adults coresidence with parents has increased since 1981. In 1996, close to half (47%) of unmarried women aged 20 to 34 l i v e d with parents, up from 44% i n 1981. More than half 14 (56%) of unmarried men resided i n the parental home, about the same as i n 1981 (55%). Unfortunately Boyd and Norris' (1999) population census data was unable to i d e n t i f y whether these young adults have continually l i v e d with t h e i r parents or have returned a f t e r l i v i n g elsewhere for a period of time. Boyd and Norris (1999) indicate that prolonged post- secondary education enrolments, fluctuations i n the labour market, and remaining unmarried longer are at work here. Indeed, most of the increases i n coresidence took place from 1981 to 1986 and 1991 to 1996, both periods of economic recession and slow recovery. Although economic downturns do not mean that young adults automatically eit h e r stay i n the parental home or move back i n , they suggest that coresiding i s a s t r a t e g i c way i n which young adults respond to unemployment, r e l a t i v e l y low wages, or low incomes while attending school (Boyd & Norris, 1999). It also should be noted that the young adults l i v i n g at home are increasingly older and the majority are men. In 1981, only about a quarter of unmarried women and men l i v i n g with t h e i r parents were aged 25 or over; by 1996, the percentages had r i s e n to 33% and 40%, respectively. Interestingly, a consistent finding i n many other studies i n Canada and the United States i s that smaller percentages of young women l i v e at home (Boyd & Pryor, 1989; DaVanzo & Goldscheider, 1990; Ward & Spitze, 1992). The aforementioned researchers speculate t h i s may be pa r t l y explained by gender roles; such that 15 daughters are more c l o s e l y supervised at home and may f e e l they would have more independence l i v i n g elsewhere. Since they have also been more involved i n household chores they may also be better able to take care of themselves. Reasons for Adult Children Returning Home The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and needs of children account for coresidence with both middle-aged and older parents (Ward, Logan, & Spitze, 1992). Returns to the parental home are more frequent among adult children with lower incomes (Boyd & Pryor, 1989). Factors such as housing costs, unemployment, and divorce are also c i t e d (Glick & Lin, 1986; Heer et a l . , 1985). With respect to economic-related factors, M i t c h e l l and Gee (1995) document 81% of t h e i r Canadian sample of 218 "boomerang kids" stated economic reasons for returning home. A break-down of these reasons demonstrated that 26.1% reported " f i n a n c i a l problems", 19.3% indicated that they returned to "save money", and 13.3% stated that they had returned due to t r a n s i t i o n a l or temporary reasons ( i . e . , finished t r a v e l l i n g ) . Some had returned for school-related reasons (12.8%), and a smaller proportion had returned due to the ending of a r e l a t i o n s h i p (5%) or because housing costs are too high (4.6%). Of the 17% of reasons f a l l i n g into a non-economic category, 9.2% indicated they returned for social-psychological factors such as companionship, the comforts of home, or not being ready to l i v e on t h e i r own; 4.15% returned because they needed help, and 3.7% stated a health problem such as i l l n e s s or 16 d i s a b i l i t y . F i n a l l y , Aquilano's (1991) survey data suggest the importance of "congenial" parent-child r e l a t i o n s i n predicting coresidence. Adult children w i l l coreside i n the parental home when (a) l i v i n g at home does not involve l i v i n g with a stepparent, (b) when relationship q u a l i t y between parents and chi l d r e n i s high, and (c) when parents hold p o s i t i v e attitudes toward the continued support of adult childr e n and have offered housing to r e l a t i v e s or nonrelatives. Aquilano's (1991) findings are perhaps suggestive that adult c h i l d r e n who choose to return home perceive that t h e i r parents w i l l "always keep the door open." Overall, adult children's reasons for returning home have been documented as s i g n i f i c a n t i n determining parent-adult c h i l d r e n coresiding patterns. However, the extant l i t e r a t u r e has not explored or explained how adult children's reasons for returning home may p o t e n t i a l l y influence the experience of returning to the parental home i n adulthood. Predominant Conceptual Frameworks This section reviews two conceptual frameworks, s o c i a l exchange and l i f e span development, that have been used i n the l i t e r a t u r e to guide research questions about the benefits and problems associated with parent-adult c h i l d coresidence (Ward & Spitze, 1992). Social Exchange Coresident parent-adult c h i l d relationships can be 17 understood as a s o c i a l exchange process; e n t a i l i n g negotiations and an exchange of helping behaviours (Ward & Spitze, 1992; White & Rogers, 1997; Veevers & M i t c h e l l , 1998). A c e n t r a l tenet of the s o c i a l exchange t h e o r e t i c a l perspective i s that parents and adult children evaluate the costs and benefits of coresiding, and that t h i s appraisal a f f e c t s family members' s a t i s f a c t i o n l e v e l with coresiding. Indeed, a s o c i a l exchange t h e o r e t i c a l perspective asserts that exchanges of instrumental and emotional support between parents and t h e i r adult c h i l d r e n are more s a t i s f y i n g i f there i s r e c i p r o c i t y and equity. However, parents' and adult children's perceptions of the amount of assistance given and received during coresiding may not be the same. Indeed, coresidence t y p i c a l l y r e f l e c t s the needs of chil d r e n (Aquilano, 1990; Ward, Logan, & Spitze, 1992), and parents are often presumed to have access to more resources ( i . e . , housing, food, money, car) to share with t h e i r c h i l d r e n . Perhaps these adult children f e e l e n t i t l e d to t h e i r parents' assistance, thereby minimizing the magnitude of parents' contributions. Rossi and Rossi's (1990) research on the patterns of helping behaviours between parents and t h e i r c h i l d r e n over the l i f e s p a n generally indicates that "donors" of help (be i t parents or children) generally claim to be giving more help than recipients acknowledge having received. In the case of the boomerang family phenomenon, i t seems that the largesse of intergenerational support flows to the adult 18 children, with parents l i k e l y to be i n the p o s i t i o n of perceiving an "imbalance" and perhaps f e e l i n g "taken for granted." A l t e r n a t i v e l y , parents may accept t h i s exchange imbalance as an extension of t h e i r parenting role--that e n t a i l s a sense of obligation to a s s i s t c h i l d r e n (despite a lack of mutual r e c i p r o c i t y ) and a sense of s a t i s f a c t i o n i n continuing to care for t h e i r children. This may be p a r t i c u l a r l y true of mothers, r e l a t i v e to fathers, who are s o c i a l i z e d to believe that t h e i r obligations to provide domestic and emotional support to t h e i r children are p r a c t i c a l l y without l i m i t s (Berman, 1987). U t i l i z i n g a s o c i a l exchange perspective to guide t h e i r research, Veevers and Mitc h e l l (1998) document that although coresiding parents and adult children exchange several types of help, returnee children appear to receive more frequent instrumental ( i . e . , meal preparation, grocery shopping, transportation, laundry) and a f f e c t i v e support from parents than parents appear to receive from children. In comparing parent and returnee children's perceptions of giving,, congruence on a l l types of informal support was high (50% or higher), with the notable exception of emotional support. In t h i s instance, almost 34% more families have a parent s t a t i n g that they receive more emotional support from t h e i r coresiding c h i l d than s/he reports providing. Veevers and M i t c h e l l (1998) observe that t h i s a l e r t s us to the p o s s i b i l i t y that exchanges are seldom quid pro quo, and that love, companionship, and 19 emotional/physical closeness may make up for everything that parents give to t h e i r coresiding children, thereby mitigating perceived exchange imbalances. Their findings hint at the l i m i t a t i o n s of a straightforward application of s o c i a l exchange i n parent-child c o r e s i d e n t i a l r e l a t i o n s . Notions of love, appreciation, o b l i g a t i o n , s a c r i f i c e , entitlement, and r e c i p r o c i t y i n the future rather than the present complicate the a p p l i c a t i o n of s t r i c t notions of equitable exchanges i n parent-child r e l a t i o n s . Regardless, t h i s t h e o r e t i c a l framework s e n s i t i z e s future research to the p o s s i b i l i t y that inequitable exchanges of help between parents and adult children are p o t e n t i a l l y problematic when coresiding. Life-Span Development and Transition to Adulthood Fassinger and Schlossberg (1992) observe that a range of terms have been used to refer to the sequence of events comprising an individual's l i f e experience. " L i f e span" i s often used by psychologists, and " l i f e course" i s used among s o c i o l o g i s t s ; the former tend to be interested i n i n t e r n a l , subjective events, and the l a t t e r tend to be interested i n s o c i a l l y created, shared events (Hagestad & Neugarten, 1985). Generally, a l l s o c i e t i e s divide the l i f e course into two or more phases--often age provides the basis for assigning roles and resources (Fassinger & Schlossberg, 1992). Age s t r a t i f i c a t i o n provides a normal, predictable l i f e c ycle within a culture (Hagestad & Neugarten, 1985). 20 With regard to t h i s , adolescence i n i t i a t e s a c r i t i c a l r e d e f i n i t i o n of the parent-child relationship i n which parents "disengage" (Rossi & Rossi, 1990) and children "individuate" (Erikson, 1959). Relevant to development being s o c i a l l y situated within the family, Carter and McGoldrick (1989, p. 15) po s i t a family l i f e cycle theory with s i x developmental stages: (a) leaving home: single young adults, (b) the j o i n i n g of f a m i l i e s through marriage: the new couple, (c) fam i l i e s with young children, (d) families with adolescents, (e) launching childr e n and moving on, and (f) families i n l a t e r l i f e . Carter and McGoldrick (1989) suggest that at each stage c e r t a i n tasks must be accomplished to allow i n d i v i d u a l s and fami l i e s to proceed developmentally. The expected and normative developmental tasks for unattached young adults revolve around gaining independence from t h e i r parents (Aylmer, 1989). Carter and McGoldrick (1989) suggest that the tasks of "the leaving home/single young adult stage" e n t a i l s that young adults d i f f e r e n t i a t e from t h e i r families of o r i g i n , develop intimate peer relationships, and e s t a b l i s h themselves with regard to work and f i n a n c i a l independence. Successful r e s o l u t i o n of these tasks occurs when young adults develop t h e i r own views and separate i d e n t i t i e s without r e a c t i v e l y severing t i e s from t h e i r families (Bowen, 1978). P a r a l l e l i n g the developmental needs and goals of young adults, t h i s model suggests that parents "disengage" by permitting t h e i r adult 21 ch i l d r e n to develop t h e i r own l i v e s and i d e n t i t i e s . Parents ease adult children's development at t h i s stage i n l i f e by (a) t o l e r a t i n g adult children's separation and independence while remaining connected, (b) to l e r a t i n g differences and ambiguity i n the career i d e n t i t y of adult children, and (c) accepting a range of emotional attachments and l i f e s t y l e s outside the immediate family (Aylmer, 1989). Ultimately, such l i f e span developmental models assume that "leaving home" i s a part of healthy development i n early adulthood. Indeed, the normative status of home leaving as an ind i c a t o r of adulthood seems quite pervasive and grounded i n North American contemporary society. Parsons (1949) asserted, "For young people not to break away from t h e i r parental f a m i l i e s at the proper time i s a f a i l u r e to l i v e up to expectations, an unwarranted expression of dependency" (p. 200). Interestingly, although age norms are generally weak and not often enforced, both parents and adult child r e n seem to hold onto i m p l i c i t b e l i e f s about the d e s i r a b i l i t y of independent l i v i n g and the speed with which t h i s can be accomplished (Goldscheider & Goldscheider, 1993). Implications for Parent-Adult Child Coresidence Because development through the l i f e course has been conceptualized as a sequence of age-graded r o l e t r a n s i t i o n s characterized by norms of timing and order (Hagestad, 1990), i t i s often presumed that a deviation from t h i s theorized timetable i s disruptive; weakening preparation and support for 22 r o l e t r a n s i t i o n s . Normative and orderly t r a n s i t i o n s i n t o adulthood, encompassing the launching of one's career and departing from the parental household, are v i o l a t e d when adult c h i l d r e n return home to l i v e . Life-span theorists and so c i o l o g i s t s assert that t h i s breaks c u l t u r a l norms and attitudes and preferences of both parents and adult children ( i . e . , Goldsheider & Goldsheider, 1989; White & Edwards, 1990). Ward and Spitze (1992, p.558) have asserted, "coresidence i s i t s e l f nonnormative, and i t also disproportionately involves children who have not made or have been unsuccessful i n other normative t r a n s i t i o n s (e.g., marriage and employment)". In keeping with t h i s l i n e of thinking, Schnaiberg and Goldenberg (1989) had formulated the model of the "returning young adult" (RYA) or "incompletely launched young adult" (ILYA) syndrome. In t h e i r conceptualization of the ILYA syndrome, young adults' unanticipated economic dependence on parents, due to f a i l u r e to launch careers, v i o l a t e s parental expectations for successful c h i l d rearing. Parents assess t h e i r c h i l d - r e a r i n g success by adult children's independence and economic s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y . They theorize that returning home a f t e r f a i l i n g to f u l f i l parental expectations fosters anger on the part of both c h i l d and parent and heightens parent-child c o n f l i c t . Their perspective places more emphasis on the maturity than age of adult children. The c r i t i c a l dimension i s children's autonomy versus dependency i n 23 r e l a t i o n s h i p to the parent. Given t h i s model, i m p l i c i t i s a characterization of family dynamics as enmeshed and c o n f l i c t u a l , and family members as dependent or needy. I have several objections to Schnaiberg and Goldenberg's (1989) conceptualization, based on i m p l i c i t assumptions which I w i l l render e x p l i c i t . F i r s t , such l i f e s p a n conceptualizations seem to assume that development i s l i n e a r and predictable. In contrast, similar to Cohler (1982), I believe that l i v e s change over time i n ways not necessarily l i n e a r or predictable. Recent findings from l o n g i t u d i n a l studies, and increased appreciation of the s i g n i f i c a n c e of larger h i s t o r i c a l factors i n determining p a r t i c u l a r l i v e s , c l e a r l y demonstrate that l i v e s are much less ordered and predictable than formerly recognized (Gergen, 1980). An a l e a t o r i c perspective on change suggests that the study of l i v e s should be concerned with the impact of unanticipated changes, such as adult children coresiding with parents. In p a r t i c u l a r , how persons make sense of these changes rather than searching for elusive evidence of s t a b i l i t y across the l i f e course should be emphasized (Brim & R i f f , 1980; c i t e d i n Cohler, 1982). Second, the predominant conceptualization of development as following s o c i a l l y designated normative timeframes for t r a n s i t i o n s and l i f e - r o l e s has lent i t s e l f to a disturbing negative bias i n the l i t e r a t u r e : to pathologize what i s d i f f e r e n t as "abnormal" or "deviant." Descriptors and phrases 24 associated with adult coresident children and t h e i r parents include: s t r e s s f u l , c o n f l i c t u a l , problematic, non-normative, inadequately launched young adult syndrome, off-time, the American dream runout, crowded nest, cluttered nest, the not- so-empty-nest, enmeshed, dependent, maturational d i f f i c u l t y , and immature. Intimations of f a i l u r e , helplessness, and despair for parents and adult children i n t h i s "unenviable" p o s i t i o n are pervasive. I have t r i e d to understand how t h i s negative bias arose since, to my chagrin, I have discovered that I am not completely free of i t myself. The ubiquity of t h i s bias may stem from our most fundamental notions of time/timing i n our culture. "Time, or at least a sense of time, i s i n d e l i b l y etched into our s o c i a l consciousness to the degree that i t not only pervades even the most minute aspects of everyday l i f e , but i s a t e l l t a l e sign of s o c i a l and i n t e r a c t i o n a l competence" (Reese & Katovich, 1989, p. 161). Furthermore, Reese and Katovich (1989) advocate that time and temporal dimensions are employed by competent members of society and agents for s o c i a l c ontrol to "document" and "typify" action, as ei t h e r timely and therefore "perceived normal" or untimely and therefore "perceived deviant." Perhaps increased understanding of how even our most basic notions of time are i m p l i c i t i n s o c i a l constructions of "competence" and "success" i n our l i f e - s p a n development theories w i l l make me wary of ignorantly evaluating the d i f f e r e n t l i f e path as the deviant one! 25 Third, current conceptualizations of parent-child r e l a t i o n s h i p s over the l i f e s p a n i m p l i c i t l y suggest that young adults who are working and have set up independent households are no longer influenced by t h e i r parents. The implication i s that only younger children need t h e i r parents to a s s i s t them i n making sense of the world and t h e i r l i f e experiences. Hence, adult children who do r e l y on t h e i r parents' resources and support are characterized as c h i l d l i k e , immature, and dependent. I think t h i s characterization i s based on an u n r e a l i s t i c dichotomy of dependence-independence of parent-child r e l a t i o n s over the l i f e - s p a n . In contrast, I am suggesting that the North American construct of "independence/autonomy" i s ephemeral and elusive i n r e a l l i v i n g . Parents and t h e i r c h i l d r e n maintain t h e i r bond and influence on one another over the l i f e course; i t does not end once the c h i l d r e n become adults ( i . e . , Cooney & Uhlenberg, 1992; Middleton & Lougheed, 1993; Rossi & Rossi, 1990; Splete & Freeman-Howard, 1985). Macoby (1992) asserts, "at every stage of l i f e , r e l a t i o n s h i p s involve coregulation and individuals never graduate to being free of the regulatory requirements of intimate others unless they become s o c i a l i s o l a t e s " (p. 1014). Thus, any enduring parental influence stems from the nature of the r e l a t i o n s h i p s that parents have coconstructed and reconstructed c o n t i n u a l l y with t h e i r children. 26 Consequences of Parent-Adult Child Coresidence Impact on Family Relations Given recent attention to patterns and predictors of parent-child coresidence, there has been increased i n v e s t i g a t i o n of how parent and adult c h i l d coresidence impacts the q u a l i t y of family r e l a t i o n s . The predominant expectation that researchers seem to share i s that coresidence i n parental households w i l l be detrimental, contributing to interpersonal c o n f l i c t and reducing one's sense of well-being (Menaghan, 1991; Schnaiberg & Goldenberg, 1989). Negative c o r e s i d e n t i a l outcomes are anticipated for numerous reasons. It i s asserted that parents and c h i l d r e n would probably experience c o n f l i c t over the following issues: renegotiating roles; adult children's attempts to maintain independence while l i v i n g i n t h e i r parents' homes; perceptions of inequity i n the exchange of instrumental support between parents and children; and parent's disappointment that t h e i r c h i l d r e n had f a i l e d to achieve economic independence or f a i l e d at marriage. Moreover, the l i t e r a t u r e on l i f e - s t y l e v a r i a t i o n s i n marital q u a l i t y has documented that the departure of c h i l d r e n has a salutary e f f e c t on couples''relationships (e.g., White & Edwards, 1990). Given that the "empty nest" i s associated with s i g n i f i c a n t improvements i n marital happiness for a l l parents, regardless of parents' or children's c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , i t seems l o g i c a l to presume that the return of these c h i l d r e n would 27 negatively a f f e c t parental relationships. Indeed, Aldous (1987) reported that empty-nest stage parents enjoyed t h e i r independence from t h e i r children and would not be happy at the prospect of adult children returning home. Only about one- fourth of parents expressed unqualified approval when asked how they would f e e l i f an adult c h i l d returned to the nest. There i s scattered evidence to support that t h i s i s the case, at least under some circumstances. Clemens and Axelson (1985), u t i l i z i n g a questionnaire methodology, reported that adult children's return to t h e i r middle-aged parents' homes often placed s t r a i n on couples' marital relationships ( i . e . , 42% of parents had serious c o n f l i c t s with at l e a s t one of t h e i r resident adult children). However, t h e i r small (39) and unrepresentative sample greatly l i m i t s the g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y of t h e i r findings to either middle-aged or older populations of parents. Indeed, t h e i r sample was primarily composed of p a r t i c i p a n t s i n a workshop i n "parenting the young adult." Somehow i t does not seem very surprising that parents attending such a workshop would be reporting that they experience problems with t h e i r resident adult c h i l d r e n ! In s p i t e of t h i s flaw, which remained unacknowledged, the authors' discussion goes onto make broad speculations and generalizations about the p r o c l i v i t y for problems i n c o r e s i d e n t i a l family circumstances (e.g., young adults encouraged to act immature, dependent and parents i n caretaking ro l e ; stress; g u i l t ; enmeshment, and so on). Biased 28 statements such as, " i t would appear, i n some cases, that t h i s family structure i s inappropriate or off-balance" (p. 263), were even more surprising given that the authors' research was not guided by family theory. In s p i t e of the problems with Clemens and Axelson's (1985) study, i t does suggest that some parents may experience problems when adult children return home to coreside, and others have also demonstrated negative consequences of intergenerational coresidence. For instance, Aquilano and Supple (1991) demonstrated that although parent-child r e l a t i o n s were not dominated by c o n f l i c t , that c o n f l i c t remained the strongest single predictor of parents' s a t i s f a c t i o n with having t h e i r adult chil d r e n l i v i n g at home. For mothers, the frequency of disagreements was le s s important than t h e i r i n t e n s i t y . Heated arguments and shouting were associated with mothers' d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the adult c h i l d ' s presence with lowered l e v e l s of shared l e i s u r e time and enjoyable time. For fathers, the occurrence of disagreements exerted a strong negative e f f e c t on s a t i s f a c t i o n , whether or not they led to open h o s t i l i t i e s with the adult c h i l d . Fathers experience the disagreements themselves as " s u f f i c i e n t l y burdensome or onerous," and the researchers speculate that fathers may take a more aut h o r i t a t i v e stance than mothers towards t h e i r c h i l d r e n and therefore are more l i k e l y to experience disagreements as an a f f r o n t to t h e i r parental status. F i n a l l y , Aquilano and 29 Supple (1991) found that adult children's f i n a n c i a l dependency and unemployment were associated with increased parent-child c o n f l i c t . The return home of divorced or separated c h i l d r e n and the presence of grandchildren i n the home also decreased parents' s a t i s f a c t i o n with the coresident l i v i n g arrangement. More recently, the results of Umberson's (1992) study indicated that coresident parents reported more strained r e l a t i o n s , with 54% reporting that t h e i r c h i l d r e n were not at a l l c r i t i c a l but 37% indicating that t h e i r c h i l d r e n were somewhat or a l i t t l e c r i t i c a l of them. When asked how much t h e i r coresiding children make too many demands of them, 36% said somewhat or a l i t t l e . They also reported greater d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the parental r o l e ( i . e . , based on a parental d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n index derived from these questions: "At t h i s point i n your l i f e , how s a t i s f i e d are you with being a parent?" "How often do you f e e l bothered or upset as a parent?" And, "how happy are you with the way your child(ren) turned out?"). Their r e s u l t s suggest that a strained r e l a t i o n s h i p between adult children and parents and a high parental d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n index i s associated with parents' elevated psychological d i s t r e s s . Umberson (1992) indicates that t h i s research redresses the c r i t i c i s m that the study of l a t e r l i f e f a m ilies infrequently considers p o t e n t i a l l y negative aspects of parent- c h i l d r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Her research demonstrates the importance of measuring negative aspects of relationships given the 30 f i n d i n g that when intergenerational relationships are strained that t h i s s t r a i n i s the most sa l i e n t feature of the re l a t i o n s h i p parents' and adult children's psychological functioning. However, other research has indicated that coresidence with adult c h i l d r e n does not generally appear to produce d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n or c o n f l i c t . For instance, Suitor and Pillemer's (1987) analysis of 677 e l d e r l y parents' survey responses indicated, contrary to expectations, that the presence of adult children had no e f f e c t on e l d e r l y parents' marital c o n f l i c t , even when age, educational attainment, health, and gender were controlled. However, further analysis of data on respondents sharing a residence with an adult c h i l d showed that marital c o n f l i c t i s related to the frequency of parent-child c o n f l i c t . In a s i m i l a r study, Suitor and Pillemer (1988) set out to investigate intergenerational c o n f l i c t when parents share t h e i r home with an adult c h i l d . A s t r a t i f i e d random sample of 372 e l d e r l y parents reported "surprisingly" low l e v e l s of c o n f l i c t with t h e i r resident adult children. Multiple regression analysis provided support for two of three hypotheses regarding the ef f e c t s of s o c i a l s t r u c t u r a l factors on intergenerational c o n f l i c t : c o n f l i c t was lower i n dyads i n which the resident c h i l d was older, and i n which the parent and c h i l d occupied the same or sim i l a r marital status. Contrary to expectations, the analysis did not support 31 hypotheses with respect to exchange r e l a t i o n s : c o n f l i c t was not related to the parent's health or dependency upon the adult c h i l d . Overall, these l a t t e r findings are promising i n the sense that they represent a trend i n the l i t e r a t u r e ; coresidency does not necessarily imply a dir e c t , causal r e l a t i o n s h i p with c o n f l i c t i n f a m i l i a l r e l ations ( i n spite of the fact that researchers s t i l l expect to find t h i s ) , even with c o r r e l a t i o n a l s t a t i s t i c s ! Unfortunately, many studies do not adequately describe the coresident adult c h i l d r e n ( i . e . , Suitor & Pillemer, 1987, 1988; 1991). Parent-respondents were not asked why t h e i r children were l i v i n g at home or whether they have always been there or whether they recently returned. This i s an oversight given the fact that not knowing why the chi l d r e n are there may make a difference i n understanding the r e s u l t s . C o n f l i c t u a l r e lations may also be impacted by whether a coresident adult c h i l d i s continuous versus returned. The l a t t e r case may r e f l e c t temporary t r a n s i t i o n a l returns ( i . e . , students), and adult children who have f a i l e d i n marriage or employment. This may y i e l d d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n on the behalf of both adult c h i l d r e n (who resent not being independent) and parents (who worry about t h e i r adult children's problems). Thus return coresidence seems p o t e n t i a l l y problematic. In response to t h i s issue, Ward and Spitze (1996) attempted to determine how continuing and returning coresident adult c h i l d r e n d i f f e r . Their sample was drawn from the 32 National Survey of Families and Households and consisted of 716 adult c h i l d r e n (58% continuing; 42% returning), 60% of whom were sons and 71% of non-Hispanic White background. F i r s t , i t was found that adult children and parents generally expressed s a t i s f a c t i o n with coresidence. Adult c h i l d r e n had a mean ra t i n g of 5.6 (out of 7), with 34% at 7, however the continuing adult children had a somewhat higher mean s a t i s f a c t i o n r a ting (5.8) than the returning adult c h i l d r e n (5.3). In contrast, parent mean rating was higher (6.1) than adult children, with 58% at 7. Interestingly, adult c h i l d and parent s a t i s f a c t i o n were only modestly correlated (.34). This suggests that parents and adult children were responding to d i f f e r e n t factors i n appraising the coresidence experience. Although return coresidents and th e i r parents were older than continuing coresidents, 73% had made t h e i r most recent return before the age of 25; only 12% returned at 30 or older and 3% at 40 or older. Three-quarter had l e f t the parental home and had returned only once, such that returning to the parental home does not t y p i c a l l y appear to be a "revolving door." Moreover, about two-thirds of adult children reported d e f i n i t e plans to leave. Most expected to stay a year or les s (though t h e i r parents appear to be sc e p t i c a l of t h i s ) . Indeed, length of current coresidence was generally short for returnees (53% for a year or less vs. 32% more than 2 years). Relevant to t h i s , school (29%) and f i n a n c i a l reasons (26%) were common c i t e d i n returning home, es p e c i a l l y amongst younger adults. Divorce and r e l a t i o n s h i p disruptions (17%) were also c i t e d as reasons for returning home, which increases with age as a reason for returns. Perhaps relevant to t h i s i s a s i g n i f i c a n t i n t e r a c t i o n between gender and age among return coresidents, i n which older daughters report longer expected stays. This seems to r e f l e c t f i n a n c i a l d i f f i c u l t i e s and other assistance needs, because aft e r age 30 most of these daughters were divorced, and some had children of t h e i r own. Ward and Spitze (1996) conclude that returning to the parental home i s a more temporary or t r a n s i t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n that may be characterized by more tension because return coresidents expressed less s a t i s f a c t i o n with coresiding and planned to leave i n the near future. In contrast, adult c h i l d r e n who had never l e f t home seem to be stable, long-term coresidents. Another one of the few studies to document adult children's perspectives compared resident and nonresident adult c h i l d r e n (Flanagan, Schulenberg, & Fuigni, 1993). Using reports from 404 undergraduates (approximately h a l f of whom were l i v i n g with t h e i r parents), they compared resident and nonresident young adults on six dimensions of parent-child r e l a t i o n s h i p s (mutual respect, decision-making autonomy, perceived a f f e c t i o n and support, acceptance of parents as r o l e models, a b i l i t y to resolve c o n f l i c t s , and f e e l i n g appreciated and understood). Net of control variables (including age), they found s i g n i f i c a n t negative e f f e c t s of coresidence on each 34 item taken separately and on the entire set. The researchers concluded that "the r e d e f i n i t i o n of relationships with parents may be more problematic when parents and t h e i r late-adolescent c h i l d r e n are l i v i n g under the same roof" (p. 183). In another study interested i n the psychological impact of parent-child r e l a t i o n s , Umberson (1992) examined the psychological consequences of relationships between coresiding adult c h i l d r e n and t h e i r parents. Using measures of the frequency of s o c i a l contact, s o c i a l support ( i . e . , degree of f e e l i n g loved and cared for; degree of other being w i l l i n g to l i s t e n to my worries), and relationship s t r a i n ( i . e . , how c r i t i c a l a person i s of you or what you do; degree other makes too many demands of me) i t was found that r e l a t i o n s h i p s with mothers were associated with d i s t r e s s amongst coresiding adult c h i l d r e n . More frequent contact and support from mothers was associated with less d i s t r e s s among adult children, while strained relationships are associated with more d i s t r e s s . Indeed, 43% of adult children reported that t h e i r mothers are somewhat or a l i t t l e c r i t i c a l and 13% reported that t h e i r mothers are c r i t i c a l quite a b i t or a great deal. Thirty-two percent also reported that t h e i r mothers made too many demands of them. In contrast, fathers were reported to be somewhat le s s c r i t i c a l , and less demanding (only 29% f e l t fathers made too many demands). Ultimately, strained relationships with fathers were associated with greater d i s t r e s s whereas s o c i a l support and contact with fathers did not seem to have strong 35 e f f e c t s on adult children. In ascertaining which relationship i s more important to determining respondent's psychological functioning, r e s u l t s show that strained relationships with both mothers and adult c h i l d r e n are associated with elevated psychological d i s t r e s s . Once the relationships with mothers and adult c h i l d r e n are taken into account, relationships with fathers do not measurably a f f e c t respondents' psychological functioning. Such r e s u l t s s e n s i t i z e us to the d i f f e r i n g psychological impact r e l a t i o n s with mothers versus fathers has on coresiding adult c h i l d r e n . F i n a l l y , White and Rogers (1997) demonstrated that coresident young adults give, receive, and perceive more support from t h e i r parents than nonresident children, but that they also report s i g n i f i c a n t l y lower a f f e c t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p s with t h e i r parents. Coresident adult children report receiving s i g n i f i c a n t l y less respect and less fairness from t h e i r mothers, and they also express less trust i n t h e i r mothers compared to nonresident adult children. Yet coresiding adult c h i l d r e n do not d i f f e r s i g n i f i c a n t l y from those l i v i n g independently on items that measure f e e l i n g understood by mothers, f e e l i n g loved by mothers, and f e e l i n g close to mothers. The authors surmise that the lower r e l a t i o n s h i p q u a l i t y may be attributed to the strains of sharing a household on a d a i l y basis. Ultimately, the research on the consequences of the 36 parent-child c o r e s i d e n t i a l experience s t i l l focuses almost e x c l u s i v e l y on the parent's perspective on t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p with t h e i r spouse, c h i l d , or on t h e i r sense of well-being. This i s an oversight since d i f f e r e n t features of r e l a t i o n s are l i k e l y to be s a l i e n t for parents and adult children, and t h e i r perceptions are l i k e l y to be determined by d i f f e r e n t factors (Rossi & Rossi, 1990). Researchers should be more s e n s i t i v e to e l i c i t i n g the perceptions of coresiding adult children, thereby uncovering what i s problematic and advantageous about coresiding. Expected Variation i n Coresidence Outcomes Researchers have sought to explain the mixed findings that intergenerational co-residence seems to have on f a m i l i a l r e l a t i o n s . Why do some coresiding parents and adult c h i l d r e n seem to experience c o n f l i c t , strained r e l a t i o n s , and/or d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with parental role ( i . e . , Clemens & Axelson, 1985; Aquilano, 1991; Aquilano & Supple, 1991; Umberson, 1992), while others do not ( i . e . , Suitor & Pillemar, 1987, 1988, 1991)? It has been suggested that researchers be s e n s i t i z e d to how the nature and outcomes of coresidence are l i k e l y to vary with parent and c h i l d c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s that a f f e c t t h e i r r e l a t i o n s . Ward and Spitze (1992) advocate that age, gender, and c u l t u r a l differences ( i . e . , race/ethnicity) may have p a r t i c u l a r salience. F i r s t , a researcher should be sensitized to how the perceived q u a l i t y of parent-child relations while coresiding 37 may d i f f e r by gender of parents and adult children. Daughters generally have greater s o l i d a r i t y with t h e i r parents than sons (Rossi & Rossi, 1990). Antonucci (1990) demonstrates that women are more involved i n family networks and while t h i s may lead them to experience more benefits, they also run the r i s k of experiencing more emotional costs. Aquilano and Supple (1991) found more enjoyable interactions with coresident daughters ( p a r t i c u l a r l y for mothers), and that shared a c t i v i t i e s were more important to coresidence s a t i s f a c t i o n for mothers. Such patterns are suggestive that there are greater consequences of coresidence, both p o s i t i v e and negative, for mothers and daughters. Others are of the opinion that coresident adult daughters fare less well than sons because they are more highly supervised (Boyd & Pryor, 1989) and are asked to undertake a larger share of the housework; although coresident parents continue to do 74% to 79% of household tasks, daughters do twice as many tasks as sons (Ward et a l . , 1992). Goldsheider and Waite (1991) conclude that "staying home a f t e r age 18 seems to provide much less benefit for daughters than sons" (p. 149). Second, age has been found consistently to be negatively related to family c o n f l i c t and violence (Suitor & Pillemer, 1991), such that relationships involving younger p a r t i e s would be expected to y i e l d higher reports of c o n f l i c t . Moreover, the l i t e r a t u r e on adult development and intergenerational r e l a t i o n s suggests that middle-aged parents and t h e i r c h i l d r e n . 38 are more l i k e l y to experience higher l e v e l s of c o n f l i c t than older parent-child dyads (Hagestad, 1987). Relevant to t h i s , Suitor and Pillemer (1987, 1988) suggest that t h e i r findings of lack of c o n f l i c t between e l d e r l y parents and t h e i r coresiding adult children r e f l e c t t h e i r age. Moreover, because the data were c o l l e c t e d from the older parents' perspectives, i t i s suggested that there may be a s o c i a l d e s i r a b i l i t y bias-- a tendency to present overly harmonious pictures of t h e i r family relationships (Suitor & Pillemer, 1991). They speculate that greater c o n f l i c t may have been reported i f the data had been c o l l e c t e d from the adult children coresiding rather than t h e i r e l d e r l y parents. Third, Ward and Spitze (1992) assert that researchers must be s e n s i t i z e d to how r a c i a l / e t h n i c differences may influence the nature and outcomes of parent-adult c h i l d coresidence. It has been suggested that the coresiding practices of families may r e f l e c t economic need. Indeed, Aquilano (1990) asserts that extended-family households among Blacks and Hispanics r e f l e c t economic needs and marital status differences. A l t e r n a t i v e l y , i t may also be contended that r a c i a l differences i n extended-family households r e f l e c t c u l t u r a l preferences pertinent to family values and norms (Choi, 1991; Tienda & Angel, 1982). If one subscribes to t h i s perspective, then i t may follow that some c u l t u r a l groups may be more receptive to coresidence and would experience i t more p o s i t i v e l y , with less c o n f l i c t (Ward & Spitze, 1992). 39 At t h i s time, research i n the United States has centred i t s attention on e t h n i c / r a c i a l differences i n intergenerational coresiding amongst Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites (Ward & Spitze, 1992). However, no current research i s avai l a b l e on how e t h n i c / r a c i a l differences influence Canadians' c o r e s i d e n t i a l patterns and experiences--where the demographics are considerably d i f f e r e n t . For instance, Vancouver, Canada i s made up of diverse ethnic groups-- including groups of B r i t i s h , European, Chinese, and East Indian heritage. Research should be sensi t i v e to how these d i f f e r e n t e t h n i c / r a c i a l groups' norms, values, and practices may influence the nature and outcomes of parent-adult c h i l d r e n c o r e s i d e n t i a l experiences. C r i t i c i s m of the Research on Parent-Adult C h i l d Coresidence Extant l i f e course and exchange conceptualizations are li m i t e d and the p o s i t i v i s t methodology used to research the phenomenon of "returning home to l i v e " i s reductionist. Indeed, the "whole" experience of adult childr e n returning home to l i v e i s often reduced to a narrow focus on parent- c h i l d r e l a t i o n s ; whether relations are sa t i s f a c t o r y , c o n f l i c t u a l , or exchange i s equitable. In focusing so narrowly, one has to wonder what other c r i t i c a l processes and dimensions inherent to the experience are being overlooked. To redress t h i s concern, t h i s phenomenon demands a methodological approach that i s not r e d u c t i o n i s t i c and i s se n s i t i v e to the multiple layers of context that influence the experience of 40 returning home i n adulthood; s i g n i f i c a n t l y impacting one's rel a t i o n s h i p s and intentions for the future. Events as the confluence of temporal, contextual, and psychological processes must be studied i n i n t e r a c t i o n a l terms and i n n a t u r a l i s t i c contexts (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). Research was l a r g e l y neglectful of what adult c h i l d r e n experience when they have returned home. Generally, survey studies focused on how coresiding had impacted parents' l i v e s from parents' perspectives ( i . e . , Aquilano & Supple, 1991; Clemens & Axelson, 1985; Pillemar & Suitor, 1991; Suitor & Pillemar, 1987, 1988). It c e r t a i n l y would be i n t e r e s t i n g to know what adult children who have returned home experience and how they make sense of the experience. Therefore, a s p e c i f i c t h e o r e t i c a l conceptualization of the adult children's experience i s lacking. What about Implications for the Adult Child's Career Development? Given the narrow focus of the extant l i t e r a t u r e on the impact of coresiding on parent-child r e l a t i o n s , i t i s l i k e l y that a l l the concepts pertaining to the phenomenon of adult c h i l d r e n returning to the nest have not been i d e n t i f i e d . At t h i s time, there are no studies that d i r e c t l y investigate how adult c h i l d r e n returning home to reside may a f f e c t t h e i r construction of career. This i s astonishing given the fact that f a i l u r e s to adequately launch careers, poor economy, li m i t e d opportunity structure, and extended educational needs 41 of today's workers are c i t e d as some of the primary reasons for adult c h i l d r e n returning to the parental home (Boyd & Norris, 1999)! Having said t h i s , i t i s also recognized that understanding "career" i n t h i s context i s not that straightforward. For instance, Hartung and Sweeney (1991) discovered that although adult children and parents a t t r i b u t e the poor economy as the key reason why adults are returning home, i t seemed that the "meaning" of economic circumstances vary. Parents and children sometimes perceived deprivation and affluence very d i f f e r e n t l y from the actual economic circumstances they described. Decreasing economic opportunities must be interpreted within the context of c l a s s - bound, economically-specific notions of entitlement, and of how being a successful adult i s defined. Some children who return home do so out of abject economic necessity; having f a i l e d by t h e i r own d e f i n i t i o n as adults due to divorce or job loss (Hartung & Sweeney, 1991). They are expected to resume the role of " c h i l d " as long as they l i v e with t h e i r parents. And there are other c h i l d r e n (usually middle-class) who return home because home can be a comfortable retreat from adulthood. Although parents i n middle cl a s s households also indicated that the c h i l d was home for economic reasons, at "less guarded moments" the c h i l d ' s maturity was c a l l e d into question. The issue of having f a i l e d launching a career i s alluded to, although parents and adult 42 c h i l d r e n defer from discussing t h i s perceived f a i l u r e . Yet one has to wonder what does t h i s a l l mean? Are these boomerang ch i l d r e n perceived by themselves and others as "losers"? Do adult c h i l d r e n consider returning home as he l p f u l or unhelpful to t h e i r career development? T r a d i t i o n a l l y , research on the important issue of how the family context influences children's l i v e s and careers over the l i f e s p a n has sought i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of environmental variables associated with the family ( i . e . , socioeconomic status) and r e l a t i v e l y stable psychological variables that can be generalized to the population (Splete & Freeman-George, 1985). Imp l i c i t i n t h i s was the suggestion that c h i l d r e n are passive r e c i p i e n t s of such s t a t i c influence v a r i a b l e s . A disadvantage of t h i s t r a d i t i o n a l , empirical approach to studying influence was i t s tendency to d i s t o r t the way the dynamic process of influence actually functions i n persons' d a i l y l i v e s . The active, v o l i t i o n a l , and goal-directed character of influence i s l o s t ( C o l l i n & Young, 1986). Recent innovative research u t i l i z e s hermeneutical inquiry and narrative to redress t h i s s i t u a t i o n and capture the complex manner i n which the family context influences career development. Young, Friesen, and Borycki's (1994) study was chosen for i n c l u s i o n i n t h i s section because i t s findings may be suggestive that adult children who return home (and t h e i r parents) are exhibiting intentional, goal-directed a c t i v i t i e s designed to a s s i s t i n the returnee's l i f e and career 43 development. In a two-part semi-structured interview format, 50 young adults (22 men; 28 women) were f i r s t i n v i t e d to t a l k about t h e i r l i v e s ; where they were i n t h e i r career development, what was important to them, what t h e i r goals were, and the influence they perceived t h e i r parents had on both t h e i r l i v e s and careers. The second part of the interview sought out s p e c i f i c incidents, following Flanagan's c r i t i c a l incident procedure, i n which these young adults had perceived that t h e i r parents had influenced them. The analysis of the resultant narratives, both the large l i f e narratives and the c r i t i c a l incident narratives that r e f l e c t parental influence, was based on the means-end sequences delineated by Alexander. It was found that parental influence i s an important ingredient i n the goal-oriented l i f e narratives of young adults. Based on intensive analysis of eight transcribed interviews, four narrative types were i d e n t i f i e d : progressive narratives with a dramatic turning point; progressive narratives within a p o s i t i v e evaluation frame; anticipated regressive narrative; and progressive narrative with negatively evaluated stages. The authors note that the predominance of progressive narratives, with the narrator progressing toward a goal, suggest a need to present one's l i f e as a success story. This need i s i n t e n s i f i e d by s o c i a l l y constructed developmental tasks of young adults entering occupations, l i v i n g independently of parents, and choosing l i f e partners. Notions 44 associated with parental influence included success, f a i l u r e , destiny, struggle, optimism, and fatalism. This methodological approach provided an alternative means of understanding how young adults construct t h e i r career and l i f e d i r e c t i o n , and t h e i r parents' r o l e i n t h i s process. The implications of t h i s study may be s i g n i f i c a n t for the following reasons: (a) current conceptualizations of adult c h i l d r e n returning to the nest predict negative outcomes ( i . e . , immaturity, dependency, incompletely launched, "career- depressed"), yet given the need to present l i v e s as "success s t o r i e s " , perhaps adult children explain returning home as a "positive career plan" ( i . e . , a responsible decision to save money for education, and so on; a desire to promote the best possible outcome for the adult c h i l d to achieve career goals); and (b) allowing research participants to respond f r e e l y , generating t h e i r own meanings to the researcher's general area of inquiry, empowers participants to " t e l l t h e i r own story." Discovery i s promoted i n the research endeavour. What about Implications for the Adult Child's Sense of Self? Given that North American constructions of adulthood comprise of l i v i n g independently from one's parents and being f i n a n c i a l l y s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t , i t seems surprising that there i s no research describing how the phenomenon of returning home to l i v e a f f e c t s adult children's perceptions of themselves and t h e i r self-esteem. The lack of research giving voice to the adult children's perspective on returning home i n adulthood 45 omits an understanding of t h e i r perceptions and feel i n g s about themselves. Concluding Comments A representative review of the l i t e r a t u r e i s intended to promote t h e o r e t i c a l s e n s i t i v i t y by providing a s e n s i t i z i n g framework for t h i s grounded theory study. The extant l i t e r a t u r e suggests that the researcher be p a r t i c u l a r l y s e n s i t i v e to c e r t a i n aspects of the experience. The impact of parent-adult c h i l d coresidence on personal well-being and family r e l a t i o n s i s a recurring focus of attention. Life-span development theory and s o c i a l exchange theory attempt to predict and explain how negative outcomes ( i . e . , parent-child c o n f l i c t , d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with si t u a t i o n , reduced well-being) may a r i s e . Since actual outcomes i n parent-child r e l a t i o n s are mixed, the v a r i a b i l i t y i n the nature of family r e l a t i o n s i s expected to be influenced by conditions such as gender, age, and ethnicity/race. Therefore, the researcher i s sensitized to the p o s s i b i l i t y that managing one's family r e l a t i o n s and maintaining one's well-being may be prominent features of adult children's experiences when returning to the parental home. Although the ex i s t i n g t h e o r e t i c a l frameworks hint at what may be the p o t e n t i a l l y problematic aspects of the phenomenon ( i . e . , v iolated normative expectations, inequity i n help exchange between parents and adult children), which may diminish personal well-being or parent-child r e l a t i o n s , the 46 researcher must be open to alternative explanations. However, parents' experiences with adult c h i l d r e n who are coresiding (because they have delayed home-leaving or have returned home) has received more attention by s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s . There i s an assumption i n the l i t e r a t u r e that coresidence w i l l be p a r t i c u l a r l y d i f f i c u l t for parents, who should be basking i n the golden years of an empty-nest. In contrast, less i s known about the actual experiences of adult c h i l d r e n who have returned to the parental home. Perhaps t h i s i s because of an assumption that returning to the parental home to coreside i s considered less detrimental for adult c h i l d r e n who are having t h e i r needs met, r e l a t i v e to parents who are perceived as being unexpectedly burdened. Making an e f f o r t to explore and explicate adult children's experiences of returning home to l i v e seems important to redress. Discovering what i s s a l i e n t , core, and problematic to returning adult children i s needed. What makes for a good or bad experience for adult children while coresiding with parents? The extant l i t e r a t u r e has s e n s i t i z e d the researcher to how returning to the parental home has implications for family relations and well-being. However i t may also be the case that the l i t e r a t u r e has overlooked concepts that are also highly s a l i e n t to returning adult c h i l d r e n ( i . e . , career development; s e l f and self-esteem; view of the future). Thus, the extant l i t e r a t u r e only provides a " s t a r t i n g point" for i n i t i a l data c o l l e c t i o n . I n i t i a l 47 questions posed to participants could encompass how returning home to l i v e has affected family relations, one's sense of s e l f , and one's view of the future. Such questions should be broad and open-ended i n order to ensure that the researcher discovers what i s of importance to the study p a r t i c i p a n t s , and not r e i f y what has already been designated as important by s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s . 48 CHAPTER III METHOD Rationale for a Grounded Theory Approach In order to advance knowledge around the unique issue of understanding and explaining the core s o c i a l and psychological experience of female adult children when returning home to coreside with parents, a q u a l i t a t i v e research design was deemed appropriate. The grounded theory approach was considered i d e a l for many reasons. F i r s t , i t i s "discovery-oriented" and intended to be a c o r r e c t i v e to a state of a f f a i r s i n which a l l the concepts pertaining to a given phenomenon have not yet been i d e n t i f i e d , and where relationships between concepts are not adequately understood or are conceptually underdeveloped (Strauss & Corbin, 1990, 1998). I concur with Ward and Spitze's (1992) assertion that considerable gaps i n our understanding the experience of returning home to l i v e , p a r t i c u l a r l y from the perspective of the adult c h i l d . Just over a decade ago, Mancini and Blieszner (1989) observed that research on parent-adult c h i l d r e l ations i s seldom guided by adequate conceptual frameworks. They observed that, although research driven by problem solving i s honourable, when i t i s devoid of a t h e o r e t i c a l context the understanding of the larger picture i s stunted. The resultant danger i s an unlinked series of descriptive studies, with l i t t l e p o s s i b i l i t y of e s t a b l i s h i n g causal associations among variables or predicting 49 future outcomes. Their appraisal of the l i t e r a t u r e then seems to s t i l l hold true of the l i t e r a t u r e today: In our perusal of the l i t e r a t u r e c i t e d herein, we noted very few instances where established s o c i a l and behavioral science theory directed the research. And when theory was used to generate the research questions and method, i t was l i k e l y to be a brand of s o c i a l exchange. Although a s o c i a l exchange approach i s appropriate i n some instances, i t i s shortsighted to assume that s o c i a l exchange theory can s u f f i c i e n t l y explain the multiple facets of a r e l a t i o n s h i p (p. 284). Therefore, generating grounded theory may a s s i s t i n c l a r i f y i n g conceptual ambiguities due to i t s s e n s i t i v i t y to context, process, v a r i a t i o n i n personal and f a m i l i a l dynamics, and d i v e r s i t y of experiences. Rennie, P h i l l i p s , and Quartaro (1988) strongly endorse the power of t h i s q u a l i t a t i v e methodology to develop theory, suggesting that having t h i s method i n hand i s l i k e carrying a f l a s h l i g h t that can be beamed on any aspect of a cluttered a t t i c . Second, the predominance of p o s i t i v i s t i c research designs i n i n v e s t i g a t i n g the phenomenon of returning home to l i v e i n adulthood, has meant that experience, meaning, and context have been inadequately attended to. Adults returning home to l i v e with parents i s a phenomenon that touches upon many in t e r r e l a t e d l e v e l s of experience, and yet the 50 p o s t p o s i t i v i s t i c approach to studying t h i s has been r e d u c t i o n i s t i c rather than focusing on the whole experience. Grounded theory's appeal i s i t s potential to concisely integrate diverse aspects of the phenomenon of adult c h i l d r e n returning home to l i v e with t h e i r parents. Another problematic aspect of the modal survey methodology used to study t h i s phenomenon, which a grounded theory approach can redress, i s i t s tendency to obscure "process," rendering i t i n v i s i b l e . One i s given the impression that s o c i a l and psychological experience i s s t a t i c , frozen i n time. For instance, s o c i a l r e lations are dichotomized as "sa t i s f a c t o r y " or "non-satisfactory," " c o n f l i c t u a l , " or "non- c o n f l i c t u a l " . Strauss and Corbin (1990) assert that grounded theory makes a concerted e f f o r t to answer questions about process, which i s described as "the analyst's way of accounting for or explaining change" (p. 148). There are two main ways of conceptualizing process: progressive process i s viewed as stages and phases of a passage along with an explanation of what makes the passage move forward, halt, or take a downward turn, and because not a l l phenomenon lend themselves to conceptualization as orderly progressive steps and phases, process can also be conceptualized as non-progressive movement where acti o n / i n t e r a c t i o n i s f l e x i b l e , i n flux, tending to be responsive and changeable i n response to changing conditions (p. 157). Although i t remains i m p l i c i t i n Strauss and Corbin's 51 (1990) two d i f f e r e n t conceptualizations of process, i t seems that progressive process i s associated with a l i n e a r conceptualization or explanation of change, whereas non- progressive process i s associated with a non-linear conceptualization or explanation of change. Charmaz (1983) notes that when looking for processes the grounded theory researcher may also ask, "What kind of events are at issue here? How are they constructed? What do these events mean? By looking for major process, researchers delineate how events are related to each other" (p. 113). F i n a l l y , a q u a l i t a t i v e focus on the respondent's own words, and subjective interpretation of issues has p r a c t i c a l implications, perhaps suggestive of what conditions influence "good" or "bad" outcomes. This information may f a c i l i t a t e counselling interventions. Relevant to t h i s i d e a l i s t i c research aim, Glaser (1992) envisioned the grounded theory approach as a vehicle for change: "It gives a conceptual grasp by accounting for and interpreting substantive patterns of action which provide a sense of understanding and c o n t r o l , and an access for action and modicum changes" (p. 14). Overview of the Grounded Theory Method The t h e o r e t i c a l underpinnings of grounded theory are derived from Pragmatism and Symbolic Interactionism. Corbin and Strauss (1990, 1998) observe that although one need not subscribe to these philosophical and s o c i o l o g i c a l orientations to use the method, that two c r i t i c a l p r i n c i p l e s drawn from 52 them are b u i l t into i t . F i r s t , phenomena are not conceived of as s t a t i c , but as continually changing i n response to evolving conditions. Thus, incl u s i o n of change processes i s i n t e g r a l to the method. Second, the notions of "agency" and "determinism" are introduced v i a the stance that people are viewed as having, though not always u t i l i z i n g , the means of c o n t r o l l i n g t h e i r d estinies by t h e i r responses to conditions. People are active creators i n t h e i r world, with the a b i l i t y to define t h e i r s i t u a t i o n s and shape t h e i r actions. There i s a recognition of people's i n t e n t i o n a l i t y and conscious construction of meaning. Hence, grounded theory method not only seek to uncover relevant conditions, but also determine how people respond to changing conditions and the consequences of t h e i r actions. These underlying assumptions of grounded theory method are congruent with my own contextualist worldview and c o n s t r u c t i o n i s t assumptions that people a c t i v e l y construct knowledge about the world and act on t h i s constructed knowledge. Moreover, given my counsellor t r a i n i n g , I appreciate Wuest's (1995) contention that the symbolic i n t e r a c t i o n i s t underpinnings of the grounded theory approach r e f l e c t an inherent respect for people's subjective interpretations of s o c i a l experience. She notes that t h i s aspect of grounded theory i s supportive of feminist epistemological underpinnings i n that participants are the experts of t h e i r own experience and that subjective experience 53 i s v a l i d data. This i s a value stance I respect, and although grounded theory was not developed simply to give research pa r t i c i p a n t s a voice, i t i s reassuring that t h i s method provides a legitimate means for the researcher to i n t e r p r e t the perspectives and voices of the people studied. This makes me f e e l closer to the world experienced by people out there, rather than the abstract one constructed by the academic community. The Emergent Design Grounded theory has an "emergent" rather than fi x e d design that begins with a broad purpose of determining what i s going on within a phenomenon of interest, i n t h i s case "adult c h i l d r e n returning to the parental home to l i v e " (Becker, 1993; May, 1986; Sandelowski, Davis, & Harris, 1989; Wuest, 1995). The emergent design i s a key aspect of n a t u r a l i s t inquiry, and Sandelowski and her colleagues observe that "a c r u c i a l ( i f not the most c r u c i a l ) aspect of any inquiry i s to f i n d the r i g h t question, and n a t u r a l i s t investigators look for i t a f t e r they begin the study. Because n a t u r a l i s t i c aims are i n i t i a l l y more i n c l u s i v e than they eventually w i l l become, the researcher t y p i c a l l y asks an i n i t i a l question" (Sandelowski et a l . , 1989, p. 78). Thereafter, t h i s i n i t i a l question w i l l be refined and c l a r i f i e d i n the f i e l d . Given the emphasis on discovery and theory development i n the grounded theory method, i n contrast to l o g i c a l deductive reasoning r e l y i n g on p r i o r t h e o r e t i c a l frameworks, i t lends 54 i t s e l f to being open to the unexpected. The researcher should respond with f l e x i b i l i t y to what i s discovered as the research ensues. Strauss and Corbin (1998) assert that the "acid t e s t of paying attention to respondent's concerns i s the key to where the focus of the research project should be" (p. 38). Glaser (1992) also i n s i s t s that, "The research question i n a grounded theory study i s not a statement that i d e n t i f i e s the phenomenon to be studied. The problem emerges and questions regarding the problem emerge by which to guide t h e o r e t i c a l sampling. Out of open coding, data c o l l e c t i o n by t h e o r e t i c a l sampling, and analyzing by constant comparison emerge the focus for the researcher" (p. 25). He makes i t c l e a r that what you "a p r i o r i " assume may be the "problem" of i n t e r e s t concerning the phenomenon, when you enter the f i e l d , may not be the case... you "discover" what i s a c t u a l l y of importance to the informants from the informants (Glaser, 1978). My research experience corroborates the "emergent design" i n grounded theory method as inherently f l e x i b l e and open to r e v i s i o n and refinement once one enters the f i e l d . Indeed, when I i n i t i a l l y proposed my grounded theory study, I had presumed that a family focus may be s a l i e n t , and that i t would be i n t e r e s t i n g to uncover adult children's perspectives, and t h e i r parent's perspectives, both i n d i v i d u a l l y and co n j o i n t l y , on the experience of returning home to l i v e . Interestingly, i n response to my i n i t i a l advertising drive, only female adult c h i l d r e n and only one "boomerang mother" contacted me about 55 p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the study. I p a i n f u l l y discovered that the majority of the female adult children who contacted me would not mind being interviewed i n my study, but only on the condition that i t was without t h e i r parents' p a r t i c i p a t i o n ! In writing f i e l d notes and memos, I noted that they stated that i t was considered "too r i s k y , " "unworkable," "too much," and simply "inconvenient" to discuss the experience with t h e i r parents. Some stated that there was apprehension that negative things would come up i n a j o i n t interview, that they would be misconstrued, that t h e i r words would be twisted--making things worse at home. Some disclosed a fear of r e p r i s a l s (being kicked out, r i s k i n g f i n a n c i a l assistance from parents, r i s k i n g r e l a t i o n s with parents). It was conveyed to me that there was a concern that a j o i n t parent and adult c h i l d interview, and even having the parents involved separately because i t implies awareness of the daughter's p a r t i c i p a t i o n , could adversely a f f e c t the l i v e s and relationships of these adult c h i l d r e n . This pervasive concern was something I had not anticipated entering the f i e l d , and i t was unsettling. Nothing i n the l i t e r a t u r e had prepared me for the p o s s i b i l i t y that my desire to hold i n d i v i d u a l and conjoint interviews with adult c h i l d r e n and t h e i r parents could be perceived as putting anyone at r i s k ! Moreover, i n my f i e l d notes and memos of i n i t i a l interviews and contacts, I observed the dynamic of " s t r i v i n g to lead independent and private l i v e s . " These female adult 56 c h i l d r e n were working hard to "protect t h e i r privacy" by using time and space i n the home to extend private time, and to be busy with a c t i v i t i e s away from the home and one's parents. Personal information about the d e t a i l s of t h e i r l i v e s and t h e i r true opinions and motivations were considered t h e i r own business. This discovery further undermined the p o s s i b i l i t y of conducting a j o i n t interview with parents on the experience of returning home to l i v e . The urge for female adult c h i l d r e n to "protect privacy" seemed sacred. Quite simply, most female adult c h i l d r e n (with the exception of four women) did not want to share t h e i r innermost thoughts about t h e i r experience, t h e i r meaning-making, and t h e i r actions with t h e i r parents. They were secretive with t h e i r parents about what was r e a l l y going on with them while they were l i v i n g at home. In order to pursue t h i s t a n t a l i z i n g and guarded information, i t necessitated agreeing with these female adult children's wishes to be interviewed privately, without any consultation or discussion with t h e i r parents i n any form. Moreover, i t was important to note that women, not men, were expressing a desire to share t h e i r s t o r i e s with me. They suggested that an interview with me was an opportunity to c o n f i d e n t i a l l y "process" or "make sense" of t h e i r experience with a "counselling psychology professional," of wanting to learn about others i n order to "normalize" t h e i r experience, and of wanting to o f f e r something to other adult c h i l d r e n who had returned home. It seemed that the female adult c h i l d r e n 5 7 who had returned home to l i v e , i n p a r t i c u l a r , were experiencing personal and interpersonal dynamics s u f f i c i e n t l y intense and s i g n i f i c a n t to them that i t warranted c l o s e r examination. Ultimately, the e t h i c a l o b l i g a t i o n to not compromise the adult children's sense of safety, security, and well-being i n r e l a t i o n to t h e i r parents also was considered paramount. Research should include w i l l i n g and able p a r t i c i p a n t s who do not have to be coerced or cajoled into p a r t i c i p a t i o n . Research should not put partic i p a n t s i n a po s i t i o n i n which they perceive any r i s k s to themselves, whether that i s physically, psychologically, emotionally, or i n t e l l e c t u a l l y . As emergent design advocates, I decided to focus my research e f f o r t s on the female informants that had s e l f - i d e n t i f i e d themselves as having c r u c i a l , private, and subjectiv e l y meaningful experiences of returning home to l i v e . This a n a l y t i c decision was consensually arrived at with the consultation of an analytic grounded theory group of colleagues, headed by the doctoral methodologist, and approved of by the doctoral committee. Sampling I n i t i a l Sample Selection The use of non-probability convenience sampling procedures was i n i t i a l l y indicated. Female adult c h i l d r e n who had returned home to l i v e , and i f w i l l i n g , t h e i r parent(s), were recruited from the Greater Vancouver area through 58 advertisements posted on campuses at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia and Simon Fraser University and at community centres and neighbourhood locales. The best response came from continued advertisements i n a university newspaper (UBC Reports), which i s also distributed through a l o c a l newspaper (see Appendix A for sample of advertisements i n f l y e r s and written media). There was inte r e s t i n the research study by the media, however no one responded to the appeal for p a r t i c i p a n t s i n a Courier newspaper a r t i c l e (January 28, 1998) or a community-oriented newsletter produced by VanCity (October 1997). Participants could also s e l f - s e l e c t to the study i f they should hear about i t from a friend, family member, and so on. C r i t e r i a for incl u s i o n were that female adult c h i l d r e n be (a) a minimum of 24 years old (since these i n d i v i d u a l s may have had more experience l i v i n g independently of t h e i r parents than younger adults); (b) that female adult c h i l d r e n had been l i v i n g away from the parental home for more than a year before t h e i r return (so that those who were " v i s i t i n g " • f o r the summer u n t i l returning to school were not included); (c) and English- speaking ( i n order to f a c i l i t a t e the interviewing procedure). Given the discovery-oriented nature of the grounded theory method and the concern not to impose a p r i o r i l i m i t a t i o n s on the study, one's reasons for returning home and the duration of coresidence were l e f t open-ended. As the study evolved, daughters who were no longer coresiding at home and 59 had been on t h e i r own again for not more than a year were also interviewed. They often promised that I just had to hear t h e i r s t o r i e s because they were so "amazing" ( i . e . , dramatic and d i f f i c u l t ) . Moreover, i t was determined that t h e i r retrospective accounts may reveal a progression of the experience over time that daughters who were currently coresiding could not a r t i c u l a t e because they were s t i l l engaged i n the core process that was being uncovered. It was anticipated that some d i f f i c u l t y would be experienced i n obtaining participants, so a monetary incentive was offered i n the form of a "research honorarium draw." In return for p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the study, advertisements offered p a r t i c i p a n t s the opportunity to receive three $100.00 honorariums to be drawn at the conclusion of the study. Theoretical Sampling In grounded theory, data c o l l e c t i o n and data analysis are simultaneously ca r r i e d out and sampling i s continual due to the fact that the evolving data analysis d i r e c t s the need for purposive sampling to discover variations i n the phenomenon under study (Glaser, 1978). This unique feature of the grounded theory method i s c a l l e d t h e o r e t i c a l sampling. Strauss (1987) writes: Theoretical sampling i s a means whereby the analyst decides on ana l y t i c grounds what data to c o l l e c t next and where to fi n d them. The basic question i n t h e o r e t i c a l sampling i s : What groups or subgroups of 60 populations, events, a c t i v i t i e s (to f i n d varying dimensions, strategies, etc.) does one turn to next i n data c o l l e c t i o n . And for what t h e o r e t i c a l purpose? So, t h i s process of data c o l l e c t i o n i s c o n t r o l l e d by the emerging theory (pp. 38-39). Subsequently, t h e o r e t i c a l sampling continues u n t i l saturation of a l l lev e l s of codes i s complete and no new conceptual information i s available to indicate new codes or the possible expansion of established codes. Once saturation of each category i s obtained, a conceptual framework was developed and v e r i f i e d by further data c o l l e c t i o n . Representativeness of concepts, not persons, i s c r u c i a l because the aim of grounded theory i s to generate a t h e o r e t i c a l explanation. Theory i s generated by specifying a phenomenon i n terms of conditions that give r i s e to i t , how i t i s expressed through action or interaction, and by the consequences that r e s u l t from i t . Baker, Wuest, and Stern (1992) concisely state that "the selection of p a r t i c i p a n t s and data sources i s therefore, a function of emerging hypotheses and the sample siz e , a function of t h e o r e t i c a l completeness" (p. 1358). Description of Study Sample In t o t a l , 15 female adult children and four sets of parents volunteered to be interviewed. Of the female adult c h i l d r e n i n t h i s study, 13 were White (European e t h n i c i t y ) , one was East-Indian, and one was F i l i p i n o . The average age of 61 the daughters was 2 9 . 5 years, ranging from 24 to 44 years old. A l l daughters were single (two were divorced). While l i v i n g at home, daughters' incomes ranged from l i v i n g on welfare, student loans, savings to sa l a r i e s of $ 4 , 0 0 0 to $ 4 0 , 0 0 0 earned as a un i v e r s i t y sessional instructor, banker, manager, biology technician, secretary/administrators, o n - c a l l healthcare supervisor, occupational therapist, and college counsellor. Five of these participants also were attending post-secondary i n s t i t u t i o n s as students (see Appendix B for sample's c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ) . On the demographic forms, reasons for returning home were frequently characterized as " f i n a n c i a l . " At one extreme, f i n a n c i a l v u l n e r a b i l i t y was associated with d i s a b i l i t y , marital separation, underemployment or job loss, and having depleted funds a f t e r t r a v e l l i n g . With the exception of one woman who had been injured i n an automobile accident and suffered from chronic pain, thereby a f f e c t i n g her a b i l i t y to be employed, the majority of the women were able-bodied. Indeed, at the other extreme, some daughters were doing well f i n a n c i a l l y , but s t r i v i n g to pay o f f debts and student loans, and to save money for t u i t i o n s and downpayments for t h e i r own homes. Several daughters also indicated that the l o c a t i o n of t h e i r parents' homes was convenient for t h e i r work. During the interviews, more involved and intimate reasons for returning home were elaborated upon. On the demographic forms daughters were also asked to rate from 1 (very d i s s a t i s f i e d ) to 7 (very 62 s a t i s f i e d ) how s a t i s f i e d they were with t h e i r l i v i n g circumstances (while coresiding with t h e i r parents). Daughters' ratings ranged from 1 to 6, with an average r a t i n g of 4.35. At the time of the interviews, nine of the daughters were l i v i n g at t h e i r parents' home, ranging from 1 month to 3.5 years, with an average duration of 1.4 years. It should be noted that one of these coresiding daughters was on the verge of moving out of the parental home and had already made arrangements to leave. Six daughters who were no longer l i v i n g at t h e i r parents' home also were interviewed. They had l i v e d at t h e i r parents' home for 6 months to 3 1/2 years, with an average coresidence of 19.2 months. One daughter had only just moved out and had been on her own for just one day, whereas the others had been on t h e i r own for up to 12 months. Another daughter (the only single mother with 2 young children, ages 6 years and 22 months) had coresided with her parents for a t o t a l of 2 years--the f i r s t year and a half i n her parents home' and i n the most recent 6 months her r e t i r e d parents had been coresiding with her and her children i n her t i n y basement su i t e . For the t o t a l sample of daughters, the average length of coresidency i n the parental home was 1.5 years. With the exception of one daughter whose parents were divorced and the mother remarried, and another daughter whose mother was recently widowed, a l l the daughters had parents with i n t a c t marriages. Parents ranged i n age from 50 to 74 63 years old. Measures of occupation, education and income were u t i l i z e d i n the demographic forms to provide information regarding the parents' socioeconomic background. The parents' education l e v e l ranged from elementary school i n one instance where the parents were immigrants, to high school, and to u n i v e r s i t y undergraduate and graduate degrees. Parents' occupations included a range of professions. The majority of parents worked i n professional occupations such as teaching, banking, accounting, nursing, engineering, consulting, pharmacy ( r e t i r e d ) , journalism, and academia. A few parents also worked i n occupations such as the lumber industry, r e t a i l , sales, and cleaning. A few mothers were homemakers. Daughters seldom knew what t h e i r parents' income was and were unable to report t h i s information, however during the interviews, the daughters described the parental homes i n which they coresided. Housing arrangements ranged from sharing a basement suite i n one situation, to townhomes and houses i n the suburbs, and to spacious homes i n affluent neighbourhoods. Within the interviews daughters often provided information about the l o c a t i o n and size or layout of the parental home, the amenities within the parental home, and the resources a v a i l a b l e to them ( i . e . , cars, computers, internet, money). Based on t h i s information and observations ( i . e . , f ieldnotes of interviews held i n four family households), i t was i n f e r r e d that the majority of daughters' parents were middle-class. 64 Procedure In the grounded theory method data c o l l e c t i o n and analysis proceed simultaneously. A s i g n i f i c a n t implication of t h i s i t e r a t i v e process i s that the ongoing analysis influences and shapes the evolving data c o l l e c t i o n , such that each interview becomes a source of data for the questions to be posed i n the subsequent interviews. One i s constantly comparing each interview as a "case" to be compared with a l l other "cases." Data C o l l e c t i o n Before s t a r t i n g an interview, consent forms describing the research focus and process were o r a l l y reviewed and par t i c i p a n t s were given an opportunity to ask any questions they had before signing the consent form (see Appendix C & Appendix D). The participants were given a copy for t h e i r own records, and the researcher's copies of the signed consents were stored i n a locked f i l i n g cabinet to protect the i d e n t i t y of p a r t i c i p a n t s . Data c o l l e c t i o n consisted of semi-structured interviews with a t o t a l of 15 female adult children who had returned home to l i v e . A subset of four daughters had consented to be interviewed with t h e i r parents, and t h e i r parents also were interviewed separately. The interviews, which were 90 minutes long, were conducted i n a setting that was designated by the par t i c i p a n t s for t h e i r convenience and comfort. The four conjoint and parental interviews were conducted i n the home 65 setting, but in t e r e s t i n g l y , daughters requested that t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l interviews be held elsewhere to preserve t h e i r privacy. They strongly f e l t that the parental home was not t h e i r space to use fr e e l y and pr i v a t e l y without i n t r u s i o n . F i e l d notes recorded observations of participants, s e t t i n g description, and the tone of the interviews. A questionnaire s o l i c i t i n g demographic information such as age, e t h n i c i t y , education, occupation, duration of adult c h i l d ' s coresidence, and reason for returning home were also f i l l e d out by participants (see Appendix E). The majority of the audiotaped interviews were transcribed by the researcher and interruptions, laughter, tears, sighs, tone of voice, and lengthy pauses were noted. I t a l i c s , bold-face, and exclamation points also were used to convey a participant's emphasis on ce r t a i n words, as well as emotional tone. In t o t a l , including f i e l d notes and transcripts, the researcher had approximately 500 pages of o r i g i n a l data to analyze. Interviewing Format Semi-structured interviews were guided by an i n i t i a l set of open-ended questions that were continually expanded upon and refined as the study's data c o l l e c t i o n and analyses progressed. The wording of questions attempted to minimize any response bias i n favour of constructs already i n the psychological l i t e r a t u r e ( i . e . , the use of terms such as "handling" or "managing" the experience of being at home instead of "coping" with the experience of being at home). 66 Questions and probes were open-ended i n order to enhance exploration and to minimize shaping the p a r t i c i p a n t ' s responses--"I'd l i k e you to t e l l me what the experience of returning home to l i v e has been l i k e for you" (see Appendix F). As the study evolved, and categories were beginning to emerge, more and more refined and focused questions were posed to p a r t i c i p a n t s (see Appendix G). At the conclusion of each interview, p a r t i c i p a n t s were informed that the p o s s i b i l i t y existed that I may need to do some follow-up on another occasion by telephone. In subsequent contacts participants were usually asked more d i r e c t questions i n order to explore the development of e x p l i c i t categories and constructs that were emerging i n the data analysis (e.g., T e l l me i n your own words what your d e f i n i t i o n of regrouping i s ? What does your regrouping process consist of)? The telephone follow-ups were useful for c l a r i f y i n g understanding, and posing questions that may have been overlooked previously. This process ensures that the representativeness of the data and the f i t between coding categories and data were conti n u a l l y checked with participants throughout the l i f e of the project, lending to the authenticity and trustworthiness of the findings. E t h i c a l Considerations The interactions between the researcher and the p a r t i c i p a n t s during t h i s research study were mutually meaningful and compelling, both emotionally and 67 i n t e l l e c t u a l l y . Yet i t also posed c e r t a i n e t h i c a l considerations. Researchers conducting q u a l i t a t i v e interviews are often perceived as therapists, the process being congruent with counselling assessment interviews. Of course t h i s perception was heightened by the fact I a c t u a l l y am a trained therapist, and participants d e f i n i t e l y knew I was from Counselling Psychology. Given t h i s , I was prepared to manage issues and emotions that surfaced as participants t o l d t h e i r s t o r i e s to me. I offered r e f e r r a l s for counselling assistance on one occasion when appeals for help were made to me personally by the parents of one daughter (see Appendix H). Indeed, i t was often of great interest to par t i c i p a n t s that I was from the Counselling Psychology f i e l d , and I suspected that t h i s encouraged a willingness to disclose "issues" more re a d i l y to a perceived professional who ensured c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y . I suspect that my t r a i n i n g -in paraphrasing, empathy, and posing questions also enhanced rapport with the partic i p a n t s , such that the interview was often reported to be a p o s i t i v e experience that was b e n e f i c i a l to personal processing of emotions and insights around the experience of returning. Data analysis F i r s t , i t should be noted that the t r a n s c r i p t s and f i e l d notes derived from the 15 interviews with female adult c h i l d r e n were considered the primary data source to be in t e n s i v e l y analyzed by the researcher. The subset of four 68 parent and four conjoint interviews were considered c o l l a t e r a l data sources that could c l a r i f y and extend understanding of female adult children's experience of returning home to l i v e . Analysis began with "open coding," the i n i t i a l a n a l y t i c procedure i n which data were broken into discrete parts ( i . e . , words, phrases, and sentences from transcribed interview text) and l a b e l l e d i n order to i d e n t i f y "codes" which were used to develop categories. An e f f o r t was made to stay close to the par t i c i p a n t s ' own language. Some examples of codes that emerged during the study are: "going i n c i r c l e s , " "stumbling," "a headache/struggle," "gathering of d i f f e r e n t forces," "taking time for s e l f , " "thinking about where I'm going," "getting i t together," and "following the threads of my l i f e . " Such codes were compared with one another for s i m i l a r i t i e s and then were abstracted and grouped together into the following categories: "Faltering" ( i . e . , "going i n c i r c l e s " ; "stumbling"; "a headache/struggle"), "Recuperating- Reenergizing" ( i . e . , "gathering of d i f f e r e n t forces"; "taking time for s e l f " ) and "Contemplating/Pursuing L i f e Plans" ( i . e . , "thinking about where I'm going; "figuring things out"; "getting i t together"; and "following the threads of my l i f e ) . Summative c o d e l i s t s for each participant's interview were generated to enable comparisons of codes and categories across cases. Through memoing, properties (various aspects of categories), and dimensions (aspects of each property placed on a continuum) for emerging categories were i d e n t i f i e d . 69 As data c o l l e c t i o n and analysis progressed, my memos became more substantive as I began to see common themes or processes shared i n participants' experiences of returning home to l i v e . New categories were b u i l t by combining and recoding them as more encompassing, abstract categories. Relevant to t h i s , something s t r i k i n g happened to "jumpstart" t h i s process. While I was coding data from an interview with the s i x t h daughter, she mentioned the words "regroup," "regrouping," and "regrouping time" on several occasions to describe her experience of returning home i n r e l a t i o n to " r a l l y i n g the forces," "working things out," and permitting her s e l f a "downtime." Being immersed i n my data, I was struck by the compelling "grab and f i t " the code "regrouping" had, and I immediately i n t u i t e d the resonance i t may have with other data that had been coded. I excitedly memoed--Could i t be that a l l daughters were "regrouping" i n one form or another? I memoed about the properties and dimensions of "regrouping", and posed questions to myself and the data. I was prompted to return to the nine o r i g i n a l t r a n s c r i p t s a v a i l a b l e to me at that time to determine how accurately and comprehensively "regrouping" f i t the experiences of each p a r t i c i p a n t . This culminated i n combining and recoding "Contemplating" and "Pursuing" (career/future plans, family rel a t i o n s h i p s , and personal wellbeing), and "Recuperating- Reenergizing" as part of the broader, more abstract category of "Regrouping." "Faltering" and then "Advancing," r e l a t i v e to 70 "Regrouping", were determined to be subprocesses or subcategories. This information was discussed with the a n a l y t i c group who posed questions to me about confirming and disconfirming incidents i n my data. This "refutational work" balanced my enthusiasm for "regrouping," and searching for disconfirming or negative cases i n the data permitted me to further c l a r i f y and define what "regrouping" i s and i s not--to c l a r i f y the parameters of "regrouping." For instance, "caring f o r oneself" rather than "caring for one's parents" i s a dimension of regrouping. More participants were then interviewed, with addi t i o n a l questions posed to sample for "regrouping." I wanted to know i f regrouping " f i t " f or them, and to learn as much as possible about "regrouping". The process of building linkages between emerging categories and looking for causal l i n k s between concepts that emerged from the categories i s referred to as " t h e o r e t i c a l or a x i a l coding" (Strauss, 1987, p. 34). Here one "puts data back together i n new ways by making connections between a category and i t s subcategories... the focus i s on specifying a category (phenomenon) i n terms of conditions that give r i s e to i t ; the context ( i t s s p e c i f i c set of properties) i n which i t i s embedded; the actio n / i n t e r a c t i o n a l strategies by which i t i s handled, managed, carried out; and the consequences of those str a t e g i e s " (Strauss & Corbin, 1990, p. 97). At t h i s l e v e l of coding, I focused on categories that f i t well and connected i n 71 a way that suggested a credible explanation about daughters' varying experiences of returning home to l i v e i n adulthood. At t h i s l e v e l of coding, one i s focusing on categories that seem "core" to the experience. As advocated by Strauss (1987), the decision rules for determining core category status include: (a) a category's c e n t r a l i t y r e l a t i v e to other categories; (b) a category's frequency of occurrence i n the data; (c) i t s inclusiveness and the ease with which i t can be related to other categories; (d) c l a r i t y of i t s implications for a more general theory; (e) i t s increased t h e o r e t i c a l power as d e t a i l s of the category are worked out; and (f) i t s allowance for maximum v a r i a t i o n i n terms of properties, dimensions, conditions, consequences, and stra t e g i e s . In the anal y t i c process, i t was also important to determine whether the core category i s saturated--meaning that a continued review of the data does not provide new information. When such saturation occurred, the core construct of "regrouping" was accepted as central to the emerging theory. This enabled me to integrate the i n t e r p r e t i v e work done over the course of the study i n order to explicate an an a l y t i c story of female adult children's experience of returning to the parental home to l i v e . This written account was s c r u t i n i z e d by the analytic group, who assisted i n appraising comprehensiveness, explanatory power, and suggesting refinement. 72 Memoinq A unique aspect of the analytic process of grounded theory method i s the writing of analytic and s e l f - r e f l e c t i v e memos throughout the l i f e of the project. Memos are sp e c i a l written records that document the ongoing process of theory development from the inception of the project; including questions of the data, observations, moments of confusion, reactions to participant's narratives, insights, speculations, early connections, records of analytic meetings, and so on. Such written memos are considered an in t e g r a l feature of the an a l y t i c process; enriching one's data corpus. The Analytic Group Personal accountability and s t r i v i n g to.maintain the i n t e g r i t y of the analytic process and i t s r e s u l t i n g product were achieved through ongoing consultations with a group of f i v e doctoral candidates f a m i l i a r with the grounded theory method. This an a l y t i c group was headed by a knowledgable methodologist, who i s an expert of the grounded theory method, with 25 years of personal experience i n conducting, publishing, and reviewing grounded theory research. The meetings were instrumental i n exposing the analysis and writing to detailed scrutiny. This was an important aspect of the research process as i t enabled the test i n g of concepts and t h e i r relationships with colleagues i n an ongoing c o l l a b o r a t i v e , team-work setting. It i s believed that t h i s i n t e r a c t i v e process was 73 b e n e f i c i a l since: (a) i t exposes one's analysis to others' scrutiny, guarding against potential biases and s e l e c t i v e inattention; and (b) i t can create opportunities to develop new i n s i g h t s and enhanced theoret i c a l s e n s i t i v i t y (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). Leninger (1992) also supports t h i s p o s i t i o n . She p a r t i c u l a r l y notes that collaboration with mentors i s e s s e n t i a l to a study's outcome; increasing the findings' c r e d i b i l i t y , accuracy, and general quality. The a n a l y t i c meetings were also i n t e g r a l to documenting an audit t r a i l that outlines the research process and the evolution of codes, categories, and theory development. Audit t r a i l s t y p i c a l l y include chronological narrative e n t r i e s of research a c t i v i t i e s , including pre-entry conceptualizations, entry into the f i e l d , interviews, group consultations, t r a n s c r i p t i o n s , i n i t i a l coding e f f o r t s , a n a l y t i c a c t i v i t i e s , and the evolution of theory development. C r i t e r i a for Judging Rigor It should be made e x p l i c i t that i n q u a l i t a t i v e research the means used to ensure r e l i a b i l i t y and v a l i d i t y are unique and d i f f e r from those defined i n quantitative methodology. Denzin (1994) observes that, "a good constructionist i n t e r p r e t a t i o n (text) i s based on purposive ( t h e o r e t i c a l ) sampling, a grounded theory, inductive data analysis, and idiographic (contextual) interpretations. The foundation for i n t e r p r e t a t i o n rests on triangulated empirical materials that are trustworthy" (p. 508). Lincoln and Guba (1985) assert that 74 trustworthiness consists of four components: c r e d i b i l i t y , t r a n s f e r a b i l i t y , dependability, and c o n f i r m a b i l i t y (these are the c o n s t r u c t i o n i s t equivalents of in t e r n a l and external v a l i d i t y , r e l i a b i l i t y , and o b j e c t i v i t y (p. 300). C r e d i b i l i t y i s the confidence that i n d i v i d u a l s and the researcher have i n the authenticity of the findings. C r e d i b i l i t y of findings can be assured v i a (a) the " v e r i f i c a t i o n " process of collaboration or peer debriefing with thesis committee members and colleagues i n ongoing data analysis, and (b) e l i c i t i n g research p a r t i c i p a n t s ' reactions to the ongoing data analysis and interpretations. P a r t i c i p a n t s validated the evolving substantive theory as an accurate representation of t h e i r experience of returning home to l i v e i n adulthood. T r a n s f e r a b i l i t y can be achieved by providing enough "descriptive d e t a i l " or enough "thick description" for others to ascertain whether the res u l t s of t h i s grounded theory study "transfer" to t h e i r settings. The dependability of the findings and the confirmability of the data were reviewed by selected members of the thesis committee. Limitations of Grounded Theory Method In t h i s section I discuss potential l i m i t a t i o n s associated with the grounded theory method. F i r s t , grounded theory method i s a research strategy intended to generate substantive theory from interview and fieldwork data. A middle-range theory i s b u i l t around the s o c i a l processes that explain behavioral v a r i a t i o n i n a given context. A good 75 grounded theory i s conceptually dense, and parsimonious i n contrast to the r i c h , "thick description" and d e t a i l of phenomenology or hermeneutics (Becker, 1993; Strauss & Corbin, 1994). May (1986) observes that i n spite of the fact that the grounded theory researcher may have a wealth of d e t a i l e d d e s c r i p t i v e data (e.g., how frequently a p a r t i c u l a r theme arose i n interviews, recorded observations or behaviours that are c l i n i c a l l y i n t e r e s t i n g but play a minor r o l e i n one's t h e o r e t i c a l scheme), that one must r e s i s t the urge to lapse into pure description and present these data i n great d e t a i l because they are "too good to throw away." Strauss and Corbin (1990) also encourage "writing on a conceptual l e v e l , with d e s c r i p t i o n kept secondary" (p. 229). Theory generation i s the grounded theory researcher's p r i o r i t y , and extensive use of "thick description" should be avoided. Second, grounded theory researchers must also be wary that i f they do not follow a systematic a p p l i c a t i o n of grounded theory analytic methods, they can end up with "descriptive narratives" instead of abstract conceptualizations of the phenomenon being studied. Indeed, Becker (1993) has observed that many published grounded theory research studies lack conceptual depth and are, i n fact, d e s c r i p t i v e studies. One must also take care not to undermine the grounded theory method's tenet to discover and to "stay close to the data" by imposing one's own notions of what i s most s i g n i f i c a n t . Charmaz (1983) observes that "researchers 76 who pour t h e i r data into someone else's t h e o r e t i c a l framework or substantive analysis add l i t t l e innovation and also may perpetuate ideas that could be further refined, transcended or discarded" (pp. 110-111). Third, the question of the extent to which findings from a p a r t i c u l a r study can be said to have a more general s i g n i f i c a n c e i s important i n s c i e n t i f i c inquiry. In q u a l i t a t i v e research where sampling decisions have not been made on s t a t i s t i c a l grounds, Lincoln and Guba (1985) have recommended that researchers speak i n terms of " t r a n s f e r a b i l i t y , " rather than the g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y of findings. T r a n s f e r a b i l i t y refers to the app l i c a t i o n of findings of a study i n contexts s i m i l a r to the context i n which they were f i r s t derived. C l a r i f y i n g t h i s l i n g u i s t i c point i s s i g n i f i c a n t to me because i t has been the experience of many researchers that a f r u s t r a t i n g aspect of the grounded theory methodology i s i t s continued use of terminology that i s associated with the p o s i t i v i s t t r a d i t i o n . This lends to a confusion with, misunderstanding, or misinterpretation of the grounded theory methodology (Charmaz, 1983). It has been suggested that the issue of " t r a n s f e r a b i l i t y versus g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y " of q u a l i t a t i v e findings may be deeper than a matter of the grounded theory method catching up with postmodern language and s e n s i b i l i t i e s . Moving beyond l i n g u i s t i c s , May (personal communication) deviates from Lincoln and Guba's (1985) position on the " t r a n s f e r a b i l i t y of 77 q u a l i t a t i v e findings" as i t applies to grounded theory. She argues that grounded theory should be distinguished from " q u a l i t a t i v e findings" ( i . e . , hermeneutics, phenomenology), given the basic assumption that g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y i s considered i n t r i n s i c to theory and theory development. Theory i s an inherently d i f f e r e n t product than research findings i n s c i e n t i f i c inquiry, such that grounded theory may be considered a special subset of q u a l i t a t i v e work. Indeed, Corbin and Strauss (1990) indicate that a grounded theory i s generalizable insofar as i t s p e c i f i e s conditions that are linked through action/interaction with d e f i n i t e consequences. This means that there i s a special onus on the researcher to describe or specify the range of situations to which the theory applies; e s s e n t i a l l y the contextual features of the study (Henwood & Pidgeon, 1992; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). G e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y i s limited to the range of contexts described by the researcher. Ultimately, the more systematic and widespread the t h e o r e t i c a l sampling, the more completely the conditions and variations w i l l be discovered, permitting much greater representativeness of concepts, g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y , precision, and predictive capacity (Corbin & Strauss, 1990). F i n a l l y , a discussion of the l i m i t a t i o n s of the grounded theory method would be remiss without acknowledging the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the researcher. This observation r e f l e c t s the epistemological assertion that a "subject-object" dichotomy does not e x i s t i n s c i e n t i f i c inquiry, whereby the researcher 78 shapes both the research process and outcome. Corbin (1986) concedes that a grounded theory's density, complexity, scope, and the degree to which the concepts are integrated varies with the l e v e l of s k i l l , training, experience, and s e l f - confidence of the researcher. 79 CHAPTER IV STUDY FINDINGS In t h i s chapter I present the theory that was developed regarding the experiences of female adult childr e n who have returned to the parental home to l i v e . An overview of the theory i s f i r s t presented, followed by a more de t a i l e d presentation of each component of the theory, which i s embedded i n the context of family relations and the family l i v i n g environment. Quotes from the study p a r t i c i p a n t s , who are i d e n t i f i e d by pseudonyms, i l l u s t r a t e aspects of the theory, note v a r i a b i l i t y within the theory, and communicate the p a r t i c i p a n t s ' perceptions and concerns i n t h e i r own words. Pa r t i c i p a n t quotes i n the text are distinguished by double quotation marks or indented. The concepts and processes from the analysis of interview data are f i r s t presented i n double quotation marks and then simply incorporated i n the text. Similar to the practices of other grounded theory researchers (e.g., Richie, Fassinger, Linn, Johnson, Prosser, & Robinson, 1997), descriptors such as "the majority," "most," or "many" of the par t i c i p a n t s were u t i l i z e d to s i g n i f y the thematic response of the sample (10 or more of the p a r t i c i p a n t s ) ; "some," "several," or "a number" designated responses of 4 to 9 of the participants, a "few" s i g n i f i e s 3 or fewer pa r t i c i p a n t s , and more s p e c i f i c wording i s used on occasion (e.g., " a l l " , "one", a "couple"). For the sake of s i m p l i c i t y and conciseness, the "female adult children" w i l l p r i m a r i l y be 80 referred to as "daughters" from t h i s point onward. Although i t i s recognized that these participants are women, the term daughters serves to remind one of the r e l a t i o n a l context ( i . e . , the parental home) i n which the women are situated. Regrouping at the Parental Home: A Grounded Theory of Female Adult Children's Experiences of Returning Home to Live In t h i s theory, returning to the parental home represents an opportunity for daughters to "regroup at the parental home" af t e r travelling/working abroad, and/or i n response to personal setbacks/crises, and/or decisions to change an aspect of one's l i f e ( i . e . , saving money, becoming educated, reappraising career pathway, resolving parent-child issues). Regrouping at home i s intended to be a reenergizing and recuperative time i n which one contemplates one's l i f e and immediate plans i n order to get a fresh s t a r t i n some aspect of one's l i f e and, ultimately, to move out on one's own again. The intention i s to pursue, even accelerate, the r e a l i z a t i o n of personal goals and plans without having the obstacle or d i s t r a c t i o n of having to spend time, energy, and worry i n meeting basic survival needs ( i . e . , housing, food). Regrouping seems to be a highly personal and private process that i s t i e d to i n d i v i d u a l and/or f a m i l i a l issues. As the core process and imperative, the focus of daughters' regrouping e f f o r t s can encompass contemplating and pursuing career-educational plans, s t r i v i n g to a t t a i n f i n a n c i a l security, and individuating i n the parent-child relationship. The intention i s to enhance 81 one's personal well-being and assure the l i k e l i h o o d of having a q u a l i t y l i f e i n the future. Regrouping at the parental home i s embedded or nested within the immediate context of a daughter's i n d i v i d u a l and family background, family relations, l i v i n g environment, and the i n t e r r e l a t e d but more peripheral context of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s and friendships, and society's s o c i o c u l t u r a l s c r i p t s (Figure 1). These contextual conditions, the nature of the li f e - e v e n t s that precipitated regrouping, and the daughters' actions influence the tone or quality of regrouping at home-- i t s duration, l e v e l of d i f f i c u l t y and emotional i n t e n s i t y , and complexity. Therefore, daughters' l i f e - c o n t e x t mediates and influences the regrouping process i n both f a c i l i t a t i v e and hindering ways. Daughters do not experience a simple, uncomplicated l i n e a r forward movement towards attaining goals; rather they experience an o s c i l l a t i n g pattern between " f a l t e r i n g " and "advancing" i n t h e i r e f f o r t s to r e a l i z e valued goals. The regrouping process may s h i f t from f a l t e r i n g to advancing and from advancing to f a l t e r i n g as a re s u l t of p o s i t i v e and negative turning points ( i . e . , c l a r i f y i n g one's plan, making a s o l i d decision, getting a job, having a f i g h t with a parent). The o s c i l l a t i o n back and forth within the regrouping process has implications for a fluctuating sense of s e l f or s e l f - image. Advancing with attaining personal expectations and goals i s associated with moving forward and f e e l i n g confident, 82 o p t i m i s t i c , secure, and focused; whereas f a l t e r i n g i n the regrouping process i s associated with not moving forward and f e e l i n g f r u s t r a t i o n , anxiety, insecurity, and depression. The i d e a l outcomes of regrouping include enhancing personal well-being ( i . e . , becoming stronger) and enhancing the q u a l i t y of l i f e i n the future by s t r i v i n g for f i n a n c i a l security, becoming educated, c l a r i f y i n g one's career niche, and resolving parent-child relationship issues. Ideally, when one's personal goals are well underway or attained, one leaves the parental home to l i v e independently. Yet one may also decide to continue to regroup at the parental home by sett i n g new personal goals to achieve af t e r i n i t i a l goals have been r e a l i z e d . In t h i s sense, the regrouping process may be considered c y c l i c a l because one i s beginning the regrouping process anew with another goal. However, some daughters have negative experiences of regrouping at home because they struggle with i n t e r n a l ( i . e . , negative b e l i e f s ; anxiety; indecision) and external obstacles ( i . e . , parental c r i t i c i s m and lack of emotional support; lack of money) that exacerbate f a l t e r i n g and make i t more d i f f i c u l t to a t t a i n t h e i r personal goals at the pace they would l i k e to, possibly prolonging t h e i r stay at the parental home. Moreover, daughters' optimal regrouping experience may be diminished by the varying l e v e l s of compromises/sacrifices and complications that may accompany returning to the parental home to regroup. Some of these compromises may be anticipated 83 i n advance by daughters, and other compromises or complications may ar i s e unexpectedly while one i s l i v i n g at the parental home. The extent and the sig n i f i c a n c e of such compromises ( i . e . , giving up one's independence, freedom, privacy, a b i l i t y to be oneself, s o c i a l l i f e and intimate r e l a t i o n s , and persevering i n an unhealthy family), and the extent to which such compromises are considered acceptable, to l e r a b l e , temporary, and worthwhile w i l l also determine whether l i v i n g at home and regrouping at home i s considered s a t i s f a c t o r y or not. The amount and significance of the compromises made i n daughters' everyday l i v i n g contexts, r e l a t i v e to one's i d e a l i z e d expectations and goals, may culminate i n the degree to which the regrouping process and l i v i n g at the parental home i s characterized as "positive" or "negative" by daughters. If daughters who make greater personal compromises/sacrifices while at home experience a high degree of f a l t e r i n g , then they may experience a diminished capacity to enhance t h e i r personal well-being and t h e i r q u a l i t y of l i f e i n the future r e l a t i v e to those who had more p o s i t i v e experiences. In such a negative case, these daughters may leave home because remaining i s considered too detrimental to t h e i r well-being. However, some daughters may remain i n t h i s negative s i t u a t i o n as they may perceive that there are no other acceptable alternatives. 84 Regrouping at the Parental Home Defined Although Webster's Dictionary defines regrouping as "becoming reorganized i n order to make a fresh s t a r t , " female adult children's experiences enrich and expand upon the meaning of regrouping within the s p e c i f i c context of returning home to l i v e . For these daughters, "regrouping at the parental home" e n t a i l s recuperating, reenergizing, contemplating, and pursuing one's l i f e p l a n s and relationships with the inten t i o n of enhancing personal well-being ( i . e . , becoming stronger) and securing a q u a l i t y l i f e i n the future. For instance, the i d e a l outcome of Maria's regrouping e f f o r t s are, that I am getting stronger, and that I can stand my ground with whatever or whomever enters my l i f e - - and j u s t having that c a p a b i l i t y of handling i t . Being able to know that at home, or i n relationships, or at work that I can stand my ground and f e e l whole. It i s important to recognize that "regrouping at the parental home" also implies a discrete time period, during which one i n t e n t i o n a l l y takes time for oneself to gather one's energy and to take care of oneself, often i n response to a c r i s i s / p e r s o n a l setback ( i . e . , relationship breakup, unemployment) or a t r a n s i t i o n a l time i n one's l i f e ( i . e . , post-travelling/working abroad; contemplating career change) that p r e c i p i t a t e d the return home. Farrah volunteers that she experiences returning home as "a regrouping time...like t h i s year's going to be for myself to regroup and r a l l y the forces and continue on." In contrast to times of overstimulation and stress i n her recent l i f e working i n Japan, she observes that 85 one needs to enjoy a "down time" i n one's l i f e . Using an analogy, she elaborates: My l i f e i s l i k e an opera, and right now i s the intermission, and I know I'm just working through s t u f f , j u st getting s t u f f p i l e d away and sorted through, and then the next act w i l l be i n t e r e s t i n g as well. The i d e a l expectation around regrouping at home i s that one i s planning a "temporary stay at home," often u n t i l personal goals and plans are underway or f u l l y r e a l i z e d . Female adult children, and t h e i r parents, prefer to think of the return home as a temporary s i t u a t i o n that w i l l be r e c t i f i e d as soon as daughters are back on t h e i r feet. Caroline observes: I think that we a l l knew i t was temporary. And that was something- I went into i t with the idea that i t was temporary- they did too. I had i n my mind, the idea of something l i k e 5 to 6 months when I f i r s t moved back-- that I wouldn't be able to handle i t longer than that. And now I've passed that point, and I'm quite happy there right now. And-- but I do see the end i n sight, and I do think that by the time I f i n i s h , hopefully, by the time I f i n i s h school next May, then I ' l l probably work a couple of months and save up enough to be able to move out, and I think that's the a n t i c i p a t i o n - by next spring. While l i v i n g at home, regrouping e n t a i l s contemplating the nature of one's l i f e p l a n s and relationships with the in t e n t i o n of enhancing personal well-being and securing a q u a l i t y l i f e i n the future. For instance, a f t e r t r a v e l l i n g , several daughters were intent on resolving how to r e e s t a b l i s h themselves professionally and s o c i a l l y i n Canada. In t h i s context, Jennifer frames returning home to l i v e as "a kind of gathering and a building of a small portion of my l i f e . " A fter 86 divorcing an emotionally abusive husband, and returning home to Wales for a year to regroup, Lorraine r e f l e c t e d : It allowed me to think about what I wanted to do; where I wanted to go i n my l i f e , and how I wanted to structure my l i f e i n the future- and whether I wanted to have that structure include someone els e or j u s t me. In the drive to take care of oneself and one's future, there i s a strong sense of d i r e c t i o n and movement i m p l i c i t to regrouping. One i s s t r i v i n g to "move ahead" with one's l i f e - - attempting to "get back on-track," "to get on the r i g h t path," or to move i n "the right d i r e c t i o n . " Maria, a college counsellor, who has been home for 4 months observes "there's a need for a d i r e c t i o n , or else you f a l t e r . . . to get away from the idea of being stuck or regressing--like there's a d i r e c t i o n and you're moving the right way." She further elaborates: Regrouping i s interesting, i n terms of i t does provide me with the opportunity to regroup i n my own way and to move ahead, uhm, and i t also allows me a reconnection with my mom that didn't happen before. And, uh, to move ahead...so i t a l l kind of leads me, more i n terms of finding a d i r e c t i o n of whatever path I take. Regrouping i s experienced as a highly personal and private endeavour that i s often engaged i n through quiet, s o l i t a r y introspection and contemplation. When they are ready to, daughters' regrouping can also be pursued " i n conversations with others." Lorraine notes that regrouping with others i s helpful "because how can you judge for c e r t a i n things i f no one i s around to ask?" 87 At f i r s t glance, returning home to l i v e may seem l i k e a "step backwards," but upon closer examination, returning to the parental home to regroup can be seen more as a strategy "to get ahead," "to st a r t over," or "to s t a r t fresh" i n some aspect of one's l i f e . Glenda offers the following i n s i g h t : Sometimes you've got to back-up once i n a while and accept the fact that you have to put the gear i n reverse i n order to move forward again; just to get yourself out of that rut. Regrouping's Life-Span Developmental Objectives Regrouping at home e n t a i l s recuperating, reenergizing, and contemplating and pursuing one's l i f e p l a n s and rela t i o n s h i p s with the intention of enhancing personal well- being and securing a quality l i f e i n the future. Such regrouping p a r a l l e l s l i f e - s p a n developmental tasks associated with young adulthood; s t r i v i n g for f i n a n c i a l security, pursuing career-educational plans, and developing a stronger sense of s e l f by individuating from one's parents. Hence, daughters' regrouping consists of pursuing multiple goals that overlap and are intertwined, although at p a r t i c u l a r times some goals may seem more s a l i e n t than others. S t r i v i n g for Financial Security A l l daughters were s t r i v i n g to a t t a i n or maintain f i n a n c i a l security i n a perceived context of extended educational needs, competitive job markets, and expensive housing markets. Although many female adult c h i l d r e n reported that they had f i n a n c i a l reasons for returning home, the degree of f e e l i n g f i n a n c i a l l y vulnerable varied. Some daughters 88 considered themselves to be struggling with poverty, others had good jobs and s a l a r i e s . Regardless of the perception of f i n a n c i a l v u l n e r a b i l i t y , a l l reported that being able to l i v e at home rent-free or r e l a t i v e l y rent-free was advantageous, and enabled them to focus on other goals (such as pursuing an education) without worry or d i s t r a c t i o n . The varying perceptions of personal v u l n e r a b i l i t y and f i n a n c i a l need i s important i n setting the "tone" of regrouping at home as one of miserable dependence or f i n a n c i a l freedom. Some female adult children who have less money and resources ( i . e . , being on welfare, having no income, having debts, parents who are r e t i r e d and have limited resources), have modest f i n a n c i a l g o a l s — s u b s i s t i n g at home while attempting to figure out and put th e i r l i v e s back i n order. These daughters are conscious of being i n "a holding pattern" i n which i t i s very d i f f i c u l t to enhance one's well-being and secure a q u a l i t y l i f e when one i s simply s t r i v i n g to survive. They report that they f e e l l i k e t h e i r l i f e i s "on-hold." These daughters were worried about money and preoccupied with i t s impact on t h e i r d a i l y l i v i n g ( i . e . , having s t r i c t budgets, needing to borrow money from others for coffee), as well as the negative e f f e c t i t had on th e i r interpersonal r e l a t i o n s h i p s ( i . e . , others' lack of empathy and understanding, being viewed as a "leech" to t h e i r parents, being unable to reciprocate i n re l a t i o n s h i p s ) . The emotional tone of f i n a n c i a l regrouping at t h i s l e v e l i s that of 89 f r u s t r a t i o n , shame, and worry. Anne, who i s on d i s a b i l i t y welfare at age 44, acknowledges that she fe e l s enormously frustrated with being i n a position of dependence: It's humiliating! There's shame around i t ! There's g u i l t , and I ju s t t r y to think how can I possibly ever change i t ? But I couldn't make i t on the money I l i v e on because I don't want to ask my family for anymore money, ri g h t . In contrast, several female adult children who have more money and resources ( i . e . , jobs; s a l a r i e s , savings, working parents with savings) can actually endeavour to advance themselves i n l i f e by paying o f f student loans more quickly, being able to save for t u i t i o n s and purchase t h e i r own homes i n the near future. These daughters view themselves as "getting ahead" i n l i f e because they are able to accelerate the r e a l i z a t i o n of valued goals, with t h e i r parents' assistance. The emotional tone of f i n a n c i a l regrouping at t h i s l e v e l i s one of gratitude, optimism, fewer worries, and accomplishment. In speaking about the benefits of being at home, Caroline observes: F i n a n c i a l l y , I had a large student loan, so that was paid o f f , and I'm now paying that back to my father... and that's something that would have been a big burden on me i f I had that student loan and I was paying for rent and paying for u t i l i t i e s and a l l that sort of thing. That would have been a r e a l l y large concern on my behalf that I would have spent a l o t of time thinking about, but I don't have that worry now because I'm here. Her parents corroborate that: "We're giving her an opportunity to get on with her l i f e and to pay of f the loan r e a l quick." Ultimately, i t should be acknowledged that i m p l i c i t to 9 0 most daughters' regrouping at home i s the notion that parents are f i n a n c i a l l y a s s i s t i n g t h e i r daughters, enabling them to secure better l i v e s . As daughters regroup, they generally are the r e c i p i e n t s of aid i n the parental home--often l i v i n g at home rent-free or at a reduced rent, and having immediate access to parental resources ( i . e . , house, car, computer, food, laundry). There seems to be a perception amongst both parents and daughters that parents are f u l f i l l i n g a r o l e to provide, within reason, whatever they can to help t h e i r daughters. This seems to be a normative expectation and a defining feature of most daughters' regrouping at home--that they are perceived to have needs that should be tended to, r e l a t i v e to t h e i r parents, and that they "materially" be taken care of. In contrast, a few daughters suggest that moving back into parents' homes to take care of t h e i r parents' needs ( i . e . , housesitting, healthcare) i s not considered regrouping. Moreover, i n one case ( i . e . , Barbara), the parents moving into the daughter's home to coreside because they needed f i n a n c i a l assistance i s also not considered regrouping from the daughter's perspective. These exceptions i l l u s t r a t e how the majority of daughters consider regrouping to be a s e l f - c a r e strategy i n which t h e i r immediate f i n a n c i a l needs, among others, are met. Pursuing Career-Educational Plans In the desire to promote personal well-being and a qu a l i t y l i f e i n the future, many female adult c h i l d r e n were 91 also intent on contemplating the nature of t h e i r career- educational pathways while they resided at home. Most daughters already had post-secondary education, had t r a v e l l e d , and were eithe r working part-time or f u l l - t i m e i n jobs or pursuing graduate degrees. Some planned to go back to un i v e r s i t y or college i n t h e i r immediate futures. These daughters were intent on shaping t h e i r career pathways and pursuing them i n the quickest manner possible. Some daughters were very focused and planful i n t h i s endeavour, and had the active cooperation and support of t h e i r parents. Indeed, many parents hope to be included and involved, to some extent, i n t h e i r daughters' career regrouping. Generally, they f e e l an ob l i g a t i o n to occupationally "launch" t h e i r daughters into the world, and to be supportive and provide guidance. Barbara's dad i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s sense of parental o b l i g a t i o n : We have to be here for her-- to release her to get on with her studies and for her to get her nursing degree. Just when she gets her nursing degree hopefully then she can carve a decent career for herse l f . And we're doing our b i t to help her do that. So we f e e l obliged to do that. Returning to the parental home may be a r e f l e c t i o n of the desire to make a "change" i n one's career pathway, and to invest more time and e f f o r t into one's future. Indeed, Caroline, who had l e f t her partner of 5 years i n Halifax, returned home to follow her own career pathway a f t e r having deferred her own career plans i n favour of supporting her former partner's career i n i t i a t i v e s : I think another sort of impetus to return back home was 92 that I had been i n that job for about a year and a h a l f or two years, and I got to the point where there was not a l o t more I could learn from i t and i t was time for a change there as well. With regard to Caroline's career regrouping, her mother observes that she and her husband are aware of t h e i r daughter's career goals and that they intend to be as h e l p f u l as possible. She states that: She has a career path i n mind and we want to help her achieve her goals, and she's a very goal- oriented person and now that she's figured out what she wants to do, we want to help her do that. We're able to help her f i n a n c i a l l y . As a parent she takes great pride i n witnessing Caroline's e f f o r t s i n getting her l i f e and career reestablished i n Vancouver: It ' s been i n t e r e s t i n g seeing Caroline, l i v i n g with Caroline as an adult, and we were very worried about her moving back and we were worried about resentment... and you know, i t hasn't been there. And j u s t how she's handled everything, you know, I j u s t r e a l l y respected her. Uhm, she's j u s t very very strong, and we've noticed that l i v i n g with her. Uhm, and j u s t watching her reestablish her l i f e and t r y i n g to e s t a b l i s h a career and also thinking i n terms of going back to school. Some daughters struggle with confusion and i n d e c i s i o n on how to best shape t h e i r career pathways. When done from the sec u r i t y of the parental home-base, daughters take solace i n the f a c t that the decision making process can be more thorough and considered. Their process i s not rushed by the pressures to make any choice and " s e t t l e " i n order to make a l i v i n g to pay for rent, food, and u t i l i t i e s . Jennifer, who i s struggling with "getting organized" and "getting i t together" a f t e r 93 t r a v e l l i n g and writing i n Europe, speaks about the d i f f i c u l t process of resolving what career (writing vs. cooking) to s e t t l e on. She i s s t r i v i n g to make the "right choices" rather than "urgent choices," while "staying true to myself." Being at home allows her "to stay i n that place of uncertainty long enough to f e e l those things out"-- without running back to her old job at a telephone company, which would be the "easiest way that I could l i v e on my own again." Rather than returning to an unsatisfying job, she chose to s a c r i f i c e her independence temporarily, and returned home to contemplate how to pursue a more sa t i s f a c t o r y career pathway. Several other daughters, who have worked for at lea s t a decade i n solvent but unsatisfactory occupations, speak of seeking to make an intentional change i n t h e i r career pathways. This seems to be a time of reevaluation/reappraisal. Being at home allows one to take "time out" to reconsider, research, take courses, experiment with d i f f e r e n t job-related a c t i v i t i e s (e.g., volunteering) and network with others i n occupational f i e l d s of int e r e s t — w i t h o u t apprehension of going in t o debt. Although, they are often cautious i n s e t t l i n g on a new d i r e c t i o n , because they perceive that the i n i t i a l career pathway was incorrect or were "false s t a r t s , " they also pressure themselves to make the decision to embark onto a new career pathway. Not making the decision prolongs one's confusion and indecision, and one may remain i n a current unsatisfying career by default. Kathleen emphasizes that, 9 4 although being at home has allowed her the security to explore a l t e r n a t i v e career pathways, t h i s i s a s t r e s s f u l endeavour: It ' s a safety net where i t gives me the options to look into s t u f f that I wouldn't have been able to do. Like l a s t summer I took three months o f f , because the rent was so low...I talked to people who had jobs that I l i k e d , and I did some research for a fr i e n d who was writing a movie. I j u s t - - i f I didn't do one thing each day then I got r e a l l y stressed. So i t was a re-evaluation time and then I ended up back at my job, which was also kind of hard, cause what am I doing back here? But, that was my time to refigure out what I was going to do next. And obviously I s t i l l haven't quite figured i t out, but sometimes I think I push i t a l i t t l e b i t too much-- l i k e "I've got to decide! I've got to decide! And then you end up fee l i n g f r a n t i c and you don't end up necessarily making a decision, or l e t t i n g i t come natu r a l l y . Relational-Individuation with Parents In regrouping at home, some daughters were contemplating how to enhance t h e i r well-being and sense of s e l f i n r e l a t i o n to the parent-child bond. By attempting to resolve or achieve some closure or understanding of unresolved issues i n the parent-child relationship, these daughters believe that they can strengthen who they are as unique persons, d i f f e r e n t and yet s i m i l a r to t h e i r parents. Daughters are anxious to resolve parent-child issues that they perceive as being "blocks" to moving forward, blocks to "developing intimate r e l a t i o n s h i p s " with others, and blocks to "becoming-closer with t h e i r parents." Maria, who grew up i n a family fragmented by her deceased father's alcoholism, observes: I f e e l l i k e now would be a good time to a i r i t out, and to figure out my role i n the past and the dynamics, because i t was r e a l l y confusing for me, i n a household l i k e t h i s . So i t ' s r e a l l y healing, I 95 think, i n a l o t of ways. I'm just t r y i n g to sort out the confusion. Returning home to individuate may seem cou n t e r i n t u i t i v e , but the reasoning i s that i n returning home to individuate from parents, one can preserve a close connection with the parents, while enabling one to become a stronger and more assertive person. In response to her friends' scepticism of the wisdom of "returning home to separate", Elaine explains: Well none of my friends r e a l l y - - w e l l there were a few who said, "I don't know. Should you r e a l l y be doing t h i s ? Cause they knew, they knew, I was t r y i n g to b a s i c a l l y separate myself from my parents--it's the word we used. They were l i k e , i s t h i s a good thing for you to be doing i f you're try i n g to separate? I thought, well I knew i t could go either way, but I thought that probably i t was a good thing. It would probably enable me to separate with t h e i r approval i n a sense, which was important to me. I want t h e i r approval. I respect them. They're good. This i s t r i c k y business, since daughters are s t r i v i n g to resolve s e n s i t i v e issues that are often considered taboo or c o n f l i c t u a l , and therefore not v o l u n t a r i l y open for discussion with parents. In order to preserve parent-child r e l a t i o n s and reduce c o n f l i c t , some daughters spoke of attempting to resolve issues on t h e i r own rather than d i r e c t l y with parents. Their intentions go underground, and they note that i t i s u n l i k e l y that t h e i r parents know what they are doing or even have any idea how important i t i s to them. In contrast, a few others (Elaine, Deborah, Glenda) spoke of the necessity of resolving issues d i r e c t l y with parents, through confrontation or argument, since " s i l e n c i n g s e l f " and "seeking approval" i n the past were the core perceived 96 problems to be overcome i n order to become a stronger person. Indeed, Deborah's parents are aware that Deborah wanted to resolve some childhood issues around f e e l i n g abandoned when her younger s i s t e r battled cancer as a toddler. Due to the ea r l y childhood experience, Deborah notes that she had always worked extra hard at being a good daughter i n order to please her parents and ensure that they would approve of her. She wants to l e t go of t h i s . Her mother acknowledges that they have attempted to redress t h i s issue with t h e i r daughter, but asserts that ultimately i t i s up to her: Part of coming back was to reconnect, to be reassured and to get r i d of t h i s f e e l i n g of abandonment--she was so angry. We hadn't suspected the degree to which the childhood experience impacted her. We haven't asked her i f she's resolved t h i s issue, but we can't wind the clock back. She has to resolve i t i n her own mind. The C y c l i c a l and Dynamic Regrouping Process Ideally, regrouping at home would e n t a i l a s t r a i g h t forward progression i n c l a r i f y i n g and attaining one's personal goals, thereby f a c i l i t a t i n g the attainment of personal well- being and a q u a l i t y l i f e i n the future. However, the actual regrouping process i s characterized by stops and s t a r t s , and "going back and forth" between getting somewhere and going no where that were influenced by female adult children's l i f e context and actions. Maria observed that her regrouping was a dichotomous process that i s "easy sometimes" and at other times she's "struggling against the stream." She indicates that she i s "learning to be okay with going back and f o r t h and 97 t r y i n g to tr u s t that things w i l l be okay." She summarizes her regrouping experience: Oh sometimes i t ' s wonderful and I get to have great conversations ( i . e . , interview), and sometimes i t ' s a headache and I wish that i t would a l l go away. Uhm, i t ' s t i r i n g . It's exhausting. And yet i t ' s a b i r t h experience. Interestingly, she notes that things have not been so d i f f i c u l t recently, such that she tends to search for something to struggle with--a new challenge i s sought out, so the back and forth cycle starts anew. Moreover, daughters may be regrouping at d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s simultaneously ( i . e . , f i n a n c i a l , occupational/educational, r e l a t i o n a l , emotional/psychological). Although there may be an o v e r a l l f e l t sense that "I'm doing okay" or that "I'm not doing okay," upon closer examination, one can ascertain that i n some areas one may be experiencing progress, whereas i n other areas one may be f a l t e r i n g . This i s a complex dynamic that evolves i n r e l a t i o n to s p e c i f i c conditions and actions i n daughters' l i f e contexts. Moreover, the d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s of regrouping interact, such that a setback i n one area can have a r i p p l e e f f e c t i n other areas of one's o v e r a l l regrouping process. Irene's experience i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s dynamic. Irene anticipated being at home only 6 months to f i n i s h her Ph.D. di s s e r t a t i o n , and 3 years l a t e r she remains at home an t i c i p a t i n g the completion of her degree. While l i v i n g at home with her East Indian parents, she notes that she has " s a c r i f i c e d parts of herself" ( i . e . , her c o n f l i c t i n g opinions, 98 her fun or t r i v i a l side, her love of decorating her space) that she values i n order to "please her parents" and ease coresiding. Although she i s pursuing her degree, and enjoys f i n a n c i a l security at home her s a c r i f i c e s seem to have impeded her progress and her desire "to become a more s o l i d person." She experiences her struggle to enhance her well-being as "alternating between stagnation and being i n a rut to periods of growth and examination." There i s not a u n i f i e d sense of growth i n a l l areas of her l i f e , such that "one part may be growing and another part may f e e l p a r t i c u l a r l y i n a rut or stagnant. So i t ' s hard to separate the threads sometimes." Her emotional l i f e and intimate relations have also been forsaken for the moment: I think one of the reasons I'm f a i r l y g r a t e f u l for having some time now without relationships i s that time to redefine for myself what i s important--uhm, I know that I f e e l very shaky about my own judgement i n my l a s t relationship, and so I need a l o t of time to ask myself what i s i t that I want? And who am I? Because unless I'm a s o l i d person and know, I can't expect a partner or partnership that's a s o l i d one. So, uhm, I'm try i n g to ask myself these questions. Consequently, i t seems that regrouping at home may not be characterized as a simple or straightforward process because many daughters do not experience completely s a t i s f y i n g experiences and re s u l t s i n a l l areas of t h e i r l i v e s ; rather a mixture of highs and lows seems more apt. The culmination of highs or lows may lend i t s e l f to an experience that i s considered primarily p o s i t i v e or negative by daughters. 99 The Subprocesses of Fal t e r i n g and Advancing More detailed attention i s now given to the subprocesses of " f a l t e r i n g " and "advancing," i n r e l a t i o n to the core process of regrouping at the parental home. These concepts are he l p f u l i n understanding and explaining what distinguishes daughters' p o s i t i v e and negative experiences while regrouping at home. Daughters' perception of themselves as f a l t e r i n g versus advancing i n the regrouping process stems from t h e i r i n t e r n a l appraisals of themselves--of how they are doing i n the regrouping process. They engage i n an i n t u i t i v e and subjective appraisal of t h e i r regrouping process and determine whether they are f a l t e r i n g or advancing through attunement to t h e i r inner emotional states, and attention to other su b j e c t i v e l y defined "signs" of progress/lack of progress, action/inaction, and planning/worrying. Regarding the l a t t e r , attention to more observable behavioral cues l i k e "wavering/waffling" versus "making key decisions," "not doing much and f e e l i n g bored with a routine-rut" versus "being stimulated with varied and intere s t i n g a c t i v i t i e s , " and "being r e c l u s i v e " versus "being s o c i a l l y active" are also i n d i c a t i v e of f a l t e r i n g versus advancing. F a l t e r i n g Regrouping at the parental home e n t a i l s recuperating, reenergizing, and contemplating and pursuing one's l i f e p l a n s and re l a t i o n s h i p s with the intention of enhancing personal well-being and securing a quality l i f e i n the future. To 100 " f a l t e r " while regrouping i s to hesitate, waver, or f a i l i n action, intent, or perseverance. The majority of daughters consider themselves to be f a l t e r i n g at one time or another while l i v i n g at home, experiencing themselves as " f e e l i n g l o s t " and "not knowing where I'm going." Jennifer describes her regrouping process of picking up and gathering the d i f f e r e n t threads of her l i f e i n order to become stronger/integrated, and offers how she perceives he r s e l f to be f a l t e r i n g with respect to t h i s : I guess the d i f f e r e n t threads I'm following i s Spanish, language, possibly cooking, my writing, and I guess some sort of church a f f i l i a t i o n or something... I've gone to d i f f e r e n t churches a few times but nothings f e l t right..and I guess sort of the inner s p i r i t u a l i t y that I haven't got a grip on...and uh, friendships... and uhm (pause) and a r e l a t i o n s h i p would be nice. It feels overwhelming at times because I don't know where I'm going- that's the thing. I f e e l l i k e I'm doing a whole bunch of l i t t l e b i t t y things but not r e a l l y (mumbling much softer)...And sometimes I f e e l r e a l l y c e r t a i n about things, and then. . . ( d r i f t s o f f , s i l e n t ) . Like Jennifer, when movement or attempts to move towards desired goals i s unsteady then daughters "stumble" i n t h e i r regrouping e f f o r t s . Daughters' metaphors of f a l t e r i n g include seeing themselves as "going i n c i r c l e s , " "struggling against the stream," " s i t t i n g and spinning," or maneuvering through an "obstacle course" where there are many "stumbling blocks to overcome." F a l t e r i n g can be exacerbated by a lack of parental support and understanding. Lorraine i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s i n her subjective appraisal of herself by seeing herself as f a l t e r i n g 101 at occupational regrouping: I don't think I was doing a good job of i t ( s i c : regrouping). Uhm, every time I turned around to do something that was d i f f e r e n t , uhm, I stumbled. I seemed to sort of be turning around i n c i r c l e s and, uhm, I would apply to jobs that I knew I was q u a l i f i e d for, or apply for jobs hoping that someone would notice my q u a l i f i c a t i o n s , uhm, I had experience i n o f f i c e administration. Eventually my dad turned around to me and said, "You know, you r e a l l y should s t i c k to typing", (laughs) Oh no! What i s t h i s ! (laughs) And I said, "I've got a l l these q u a l i f i c a t i o n s " . He just said, "You're l y i n g . " In f a l t e r i n g , daughters f e l t that they were not moving forward, or accomplishing t h e i r goals. Oneida says things seem to be " s t a t i c , " and Nancy indicates that "I'm not going anywhere." Not surprisingly, daughters convey that f a l t e r i n g may be s i g n a l l e d by feelings of f r u s t r a t i o n , self-doubt, depression, and anxiety. Maria alludes to "the anxiety of not knowing" how things w i l l turn out and "f e e l i n g l o s t . " Nancy mentions that she knows she i s f a l t e r i n g by her " i n t e r n a l stress l e v e l s . " Also associated with f a l t e r i n g i s the experience of f e e l i n g alone or isolated, compounded by the perception that many others cannot understand what one i s going through. Relevant to t h i s , the daughters who are recovering from a c r i s i s or setback may most strongly experience f a l t e r i n g i n t h e i r regrouping because they seem to f e e l "overwhelmed" with the enormity of "starting over" or "rebuilding a portion of one's l i f e " - - p a r a l y s i n g them from immediately making decisions or taking actions that w i l l change t h e i r l i v e s . Such negative emotions also signal the dissonance between 102 what one i s currently doing and where one i s i n l i f e with where one would l i k e to be. This dissonance i s exacerbated by one's age; the older one i s , the more l i k e l y that one i s unhappy about one's s i t u a t i o n i n l i f e and to be negatively comparing oneself to peers who seem to be moving forward with l i f e by securing good jobs, finding homes and partners, and even having children. Embedded within the f a l t e r i n g experience, i s an e x i s t e n t i a l angst concerning the larger meaning of hardship or struggle i n one's l i f e . Nancy wonders, Why can't i t be easy? I wonder what i s i t i n me. It ' s l i k e I point my finger at having a career. But I think that i f I were happy and i f I were s e t t l e d i n myself then I wouldn't be having t h i s struggle. So I wonder what i t i s i n me. Like why I am the way I am. In response to t h i s , some daughters become more s p i r i t u a l and take a leap of f a i t h that everything w i l l be okay, and that one i s meant to go through t h i s hardship or struggle f o r some unknown but meaningful reason. In contrast, a few noted that t h e i r s p i r i t u a l i t y was "reduced" or "confined/contained" when they were at home, and a few others eschewed s p i r i t u a l i t y - - t h e experience of f a l t e r i n g having challenged/tested t h e i r f a i t h . When one's s p i r i t u a l i t y or sense of hopefulness i s diminished, an i n e r t i a or apathy can arise, s t e a l i n g away the impetus to do things that one knows how to do and knows are good for oneself. One seems to be simultaneously capable yet momentarily incapable of helping oneself. Jennifer, who f e e l s l i k e she i s " f a l l i n g apart" and "fragmented," t e a r f u l l y 103 explains: I spend a l o t of time alone, (pause) Yeah. I t ' s been pri m a r i l y s o l i t a r y . And I haven't used the devices that I "quote-unquote" should have f a l l e n back o n - l i k e my jo u r n a l l i n g , for example, or prayer, for example--which I sometimes used to do when I was away--or even meditation. I haven't used anything-- I've just been kind of l i k e f l y i n g b l i n d . Advancing In contrast to f a l t e r i n g ' s q u a l i t y of moving against the stream and struggling with obstacles, advancing i s characterized by a sense of "going with the flow" and having obstacles and stumbling blocks removed from one's pathway. Daughters' perceive themselves to be advancing when they have c l a r i t y of purpose, thereby enabling them to move more s w i f t l y and d i r e c t l y i n attaining valued regrouping objectives. As Caroline says, "the end i s i n sight." There i s a d e f i n i t e sense that one i s moving/going forward with one's l i f e and plans. Advancing i s manifested by intentional, v o l i t i o n a l , and purposeful actions that are designed to get things done, and to accelerate the attainment of one's goals. Quite simply, one knows what one wants and i s a c t i v e l y pursuing i t . Daughters also describe c e r t a i n "signs" that are i n d i c a t i v e of an appraisal of oneself as advancing. With regard to Nancy's task of contemplating her impending educational plans and what her ultimate career niche w i l l be, she elaborates that, "I don't know i f processing i t i n your mind actually equates movement...but I maybe started moving i n the sense that I've 104 started the Masters." Advancing may also be s i g n a l l e d by the recognition that one i s engaged i n novel behaviours, that i s , behaviours that may be considered "experimental" but they are both p o s i t i v e and necessary i n order for changes to occur. "Trying new things" or "trying new ideas and approaches" rather than being apathetic, s e t t l i n g for the status quo, or r e l y i n g on standard but i n e f f e c t i v e strategies can be empowering. The perception of oneself as "advancing" towards the attainment of one's goals i s also signalled by f e e l i n g s of optimism, hopefulness about the future, accomplishment, and s e l f - e f f i c a c y . Positive emotional states of s a t i s f a c t i o n , contentment, and enjoyment are considered r e f l e c t i o n s of one "doing the r i g h t things for oneself" or "finding one's niche" i n work and relationships. The p o s i t i v e feelings are considered a manifestation of the congruence between where one wants to be ( i . e . , going i n the right direction) and what one's currently doing—there i s a sense of "Tightness" that i s affirming. The Tra i ectory Entry i n t o the parental home i s pr e c i p i t a t e d by a range of l i f e - e v e n t s or l i f e - t r a n s i t i o n s that include personal s e t b a c k / l o s s / c r i s i s ( i . e . , h e a l t h / d i s a b i l i t y , unemployment, divorce, r e l a t i o n s h i p breakup, geographic r e l o c a t i o n ) , a personal decision to change an aspect of one's l i f e ( i . e . , pursue a degree, change career, save money/payoff debts, 105 s e t t l e unresolved issues with parents), and/or a need for an inexpensive and convenient "home-base" af t e r t r a v e l l i n g and working abroad while one gets re-established. Often the cl i n c h e r i n the decision to return home i s the extension of a "parental i n v i t a t i o n , " thereby reassuring daughters that parents do not mind a s s i s t i n g them when they are i n positions of r e l a t i v e v u l n e r a b i l i t y . The regrouping trajectory, which s t a r t s when a daughter f i r s t moves home, ends when a daughter leaves the parental home to s t a r t l i f e on her own again (Figure 1). Many daughters engage i n introspection and withdraw into themselves. They consider t h i s a time-out for themselves to cocoon and contemplate t h e i r future. This may be experienced by some as overwhelming but necessary. Many daughters may not f e e l p a r t i c u l a r l y happy at t h i s point i n the regrouping process, and i t i s here that many daughters' may frequently experience f a l t e r i n g , as they attempt to " r a l l y " t h e i r s p i r i t s and energy, and adapt to l i f e at home while contemplating what to do next and how to do i t . Maria, who has been home for 4 months observes: I think that when I f i r s t moved back, i t was d e f i n i t e l y a f a l t e r i n g , crazy-making i n some senses--feeling l i k e I needed to have a date when I was moving out--and a l l the rest of i t . Now, for whatever reason, i t fe e l s a l o t less urgent. I think that i n some ways i t j u s t f e e l s okay right now. Caroline r e f l e c t s on how her experience and emotional state has fundamentally shifted over time since returning home to regroup. I n i t i a l l y she characterized her regrouping experience 106 as quite negative, much d i f f e r e n t than her current state of s a t i s f a c t i o n as she makes stri d e s professionally, and r e l a t i o n a l l y with her parents and a new boyfriend. She observes how the timing of our interview i s s i g n i f i c a n t i n capturing a s l i c e of her o v e r a l l regrouping experience: Like, for example, i f you had spoke to me i n July, I was very unhappy about where I was i n my l i f e at that point i n time. I was dreading going to work each day, because I had done that job and I knew i t insid e out and I was miserable. It wasn't a challenge at a l l . I was not happy--well I appeared to be content to everyone around me, and I'd say to others "I'm fi n e " ( f a l s e t t o , high cheery voice). But you know, that was my outward. Inwardly, I was very unhappy with the space I was i n . So I think i t would have been a very d i f f e r e n t interview and I probably would have s t i l l had r e a l l y a l o t of f r u s t r a t i o n about that and that would have come across. So what accounts for change i n the regrouping experience over time? Aside from the l i f e - c o n t e x t and r e l a t i o n s that daughters are embedded i n , "turning points" i n daughters' l i v e s account for more dramatic or noticeable s h i f t s i n the q u a l i t y of t h e i r regrouping process. Turning points consist of meaningful events ( i . e . , getting a job), actions ( i . e . , making a s o l i d plan, c l a r i f y i n g a decision), and interactions ( i . e . , f i g h t with a parent) i n daughters' l i v e s . Such turning points (both p o s i t i v e and negative) explain how one can s h i f t or o s c i l l a t e from f a l t e r i n g to advancing and from advancing to f a l t e r i n g . For instance, Caroline attributes the meaningful improvement i n her l i f e to succeeding occupationally, her treasured personal goal: 107 I was r e a l l y upset and frustrated, but then the management job came open at (my workplace), and I got that position i n August, and i t just completely- -I think that was the star t of the change to be happy i n Vancouver. You know I'd been there a couple of months, I'd been very busy and I f i n a l l y had a job that I was happy with. And I f e l t proud to be doing i t and I f e l t ; I mean i t ' s extremely challenging, there's l o t s of new things that I was learning. I think that was sort of a t r a n s i t i o n a l point for me. Lorraine experienced months of tears and introspection as she struggled to heal from the aftermath of an abusive marriage, while r e e l i n g from the unsympathetic and i n t r u s i v e stance of her parents, before things changed for her. In contrast to Caroline, she suggests that her turning point was an i n t e r n a l l y derived decision after months of t r y i n g to figure out what to do and how to proceed with her l i f e : What picked me up more than anything else, i t was, I think around November-time, and I had decided on a s o l i d foundation with where I was going to go, what I was going to do, and I had decided, r e a l l y , that I was going to go back to Canada. I had made the decision to go, and then the decision to save the money. And then, a l l the stumbling blocks j u s t disappeared!! It's almost as i f a doorway had opened and i t said I was not meant to be here, i n the U.K. I was meant to be here, i n Canada. The i d e a l expectation i s that returning home to regroup i s temporary, and that one expects to leave and e s t a b l i s h one's own independent l i f e and residence again one day. Leaving the parental home i s determined by eithe r (a) an appraisal of having regrouping objectives well underway or reached and being i n a secure enough position to make i t on one's own again; or (b) an appraisal that the family home- re l a t i o n s h i p context i s not conducive to regrouping and that 108 one must leave the parental home i n order to preserve one's personal well-being. Prolonged stays at home may be a r e f l e c t i o n of the nature of one's personal regrouping goals, since c e r t a i n goals take more time to accomplish (e.g., obtaining a post-secondary degree can take several years); or having accomplished one's i n i t i a l goals and developing new goals to pursue while at home. For instance, Caroline extended her stay at home past the i n i t i a l deadline that she had anticipated for h e r s e l f . She i n i t i a l l y thought that once she had recovered from her re l a t i o n s h i p break-up and had succeeded at occupationally re- est a b l i s h i n g herself i n Vancouver that she would leave her parents' home. However, when she had re a l i z e d her i n i t i a l goals, she reviewed her sit u a t i o n and decided to continue to regroup at her parents' home by pursuing new goals. She then researched a career i n Human Resources and decided to pursue t h i s long-term career choice. This entailed a plan to go back to school. She indicated that i t was pragmatic and l o g i c a l to pursue these new career-educational goals from the f i n a n c i a l s e c u r i t y of the parental home-base. F i n a l l y , prolonged stays at home may also be a r e f l e c t i o n of one struggling badly and experiencing oneself as "being stuck" or "on hold," perhaps being unable to become independent i n the near future. Anne laments, It ' s (My l i f e ) been on hold for 5 years! So i t ' s a l i f e s t y l e move. Well... sometimes I think DENIAL!! What am I doing?! What can I do to change i t ? ! 109 Like Anne, a few daughters may lin g e r at the parental home, a material comfort zone, with no pressing impetus to leave. In fact, a few daughters may actually fear leaving the parental home, dreading an existence of f i n a n c i a l i n s t a b i l i t y , lack of emotional support, and loneliness. Being at home may be a trade-off, such that having independence and privacy, f u l l y being oneself and developing relationships with others are s a c r i f i c e d or compromised i n favour of material comfort, security, and s t a b i l i t y . It i s a pragmatic choice, some daughters want the comfort and security of a roof over t h e i r head--such that some aspects of personal development and fu l f i l m e n t may be compromised ( i . e . , pursuing intimate re l a t i o n s h i p s , being myself at home and with my parents), even i f t h e i r absence i s keenly f e l t . Irene observes: I was shocked. I shocked myself at the way that I kind of shut myself down when I came home. And at the same time I have a couple of friends i n England, who uhm, who have been i n the same s i t u a t i o n as me and have said, "Well that's what happened to me too." Yeah, I've got a friend who's got a Ph.D. as well, and f o r awhile she had to go l i v e with her father i n Holland. And she said, "I said Yes and No, and Thank-you, and Please, and I do the work that I have to do and I don't...I'm not myself there." In the short-term t h i s choice can y i e l d desired r e s u l t s ( i . e . , protecting private parts of s e l f , protecting s e l f from parental c r i t i c i s m , respecting parental expectations, avoiding co n f r o n t a t i o n / c o n f l i c t with parents). However, when stretched over time, the consequence of remaining at the parental home for an extended period i s the sense that one i s going nowhere and that one's s e l f and one's l i f e i s on hold. These daughters 110 seem to be i n a holding pattern where the c r u c i a l intent of regrouping may be suspended (temporarily or i n d e f i n i t e l y ) . One's goals may be put on the back-burner. There i s a sense that these daughters are spent or burnt out from t h e i r regrouping e f f o r t s , or attempting to regroup i n an inhospitable f a m i l i a l context, and that they need to withdraw int o themselves i n order to protect themselves. For instance, Anne who suffers from chronic pain and i s on welfare- d i s a b i l i t y , wages bat t l e with the government for medical compensation for unsuccessful back surgeries done i n the United States. Although she senses she i s f i g h t i n g a l o s i n g b a t t l e she perseveres. Her parents, although sympathetic to her p l i g h t , r e a l l y want her to leave t h e i r home. Herein l i e s the irony, because i t has also been Anne's ardent goal to resolve many interpersonal and h i s t o r i c a l issues with her parents i n order to est a b l i s h closer r e l a t i o n s with each parent and to f e e l more loved and understood by them. For many years she has sought out in d i v i d u a l relationships with each parent, only to be misunderstood and rejected. She i s gravely disappointed that something she has wanted so badly and worked for so p e r s i s t e n t l y seems unattainable. She and her parents have reached a stalemate, and she has "given" up on regrouping with them: Well, I've sort of given up because I don't f e e l that e i t h e r of them i n d i v i d u a l l y want to know. And uhm, as a couple, uhm, I just f e e l that the codependency, i t ' s r e a l l y hard to talk to them about a l o t of things because t h e i r viewpoints are d i f f e r e n t and i t usually ends up being a f i g h t . So I think we've a l l I l l j u s t retreated to our corners and just to keep peace we don't communicate! Conditions that Influence the Regrouping Process Context of P r e c i p i t a t i n g Life-Events Daughters' decisions to return home to regroup were often triggered by s i g n i f i c a n t circumstances, l i f e - e v e n t s , and personal choices i n t h e i r l i v e s . In t h i s sample, the return home was preci p i t a t e d by personal setbacks/crises, post- working/travelling abroad, as well as by s p e c i f i c choices daughters had made to refin e a s i g n i f i c a n t aspect of t h e i r l i v e s . Moreover, these p r e c i p i t a t i n g conditions were not mutually exclusive, because a daughter's return home to regroup may encompass one or a l l of these conditions. Personal Setbacks and Crises Several daughters chose to return home to take care of themselves and receive t h e i r parents' f i n a n c i a l and emotional support i n response to traumatic l i f e - e v e n t s or l i f e - t r a n s i t i o n s (e.g., divorce/relationship breakups, job loss, accident/health d i s a b i l i t y , f a i l u r e at university) that had undermined t h e i r sense of emotional, psychological, and f i n a n c i a l security and s t a b i l i t y i n the world. In t h i s instance returning home may f e e l involuntary, l i k e one has no other recourse. They return home to recuperate ( i . e . , " resting," "seeking quiet and solitude," "meditating," "praying," "taking long walks," "indulging myself with bubblebaths," "reading and watching t e l e v i s i o n , " "processing and managing one's emotions," "taking a time-out for myself"), 112 to reenergize ("gathering energy," " r a l l y i n g the forces," "taking a down-time," "recharging my battery") and to contemplate how to pick up the pieces of t h e i r l i v e s and move onward again ( i . e . , "figuring out what to do next v i a deep introspection and conversation with friends, parents, and even counsellors"). There i s a strong sense that they are attempting to rebuild t h e i r l i v e s i n order to make a fresh s t a r t . Generally parents tend to be protective of t h e i r daughters when they return home to regroup a f t e r a s i g n i f i c a n t time of t r a n s i t i o n . Caroline's mother says, "We f e l t that we had to support her and get her strong again." Therefore, parents goals p a r a l l e l daughters' regrouping intentions to become stronger and get th e i r l i v e s back on track. It seems that regrouping i n response to setbacks, losses, or c r i s e s i s much more emotional and labour-intensive because these daughters f e e l wounded and need to regain t h e i r energy, t h e i r courage, and t h e i r confidence before they can endeavour to move onto more pragmatic things l i k e finding work or going to school again. Psychological and emotional healing happens at i t s own pace and i t cannot be rushed. After her divorce from a spouse who stalked her, Lorraine shares that "I c r i e d for months when I got back." For many months one may f e e l incapable of doing anything, beyond withdrawing into oneself and working through emotions of sadness, anger, and d i s b e l i e f . For instance, a f t e r being asked to leave her u n i v e r s i t y programme, Glenda returned home to "wallow i n s e l f - p i t y " and 113 "maintain a catatonic state for 4 months" before she was able to p u l l herself out of i t to make some "tough decisions" about her academic future. During those 4 months she played video games the e n t i r e day and describes herself as being very "inwardly focused" and engaged i n "navel-gazing," where "I never ever r e a l l y thought about anyone else but me at that time." In recovering and recuperating from setbacks, some of these daughters seek assistance outside the family, engaging i n professional counselling i n order to process t h e i r emotions (anger, confusion, anxiety, depression) and to figure out how to get over what has happened and how to proceed with l i f e . They also describe using (black) humour or developing s p i r i t u a l i t y to deal with t h e i r situations. Once emotional and psychological issues have been dealt with, then these daughters usually gravitate towards contemplating what they want to do next-- whether that e n t a i l s finding work so they can get back out on t h e i r own again, or going back to school again i n order to further career and monetary aspirations. Lorraine i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s : So eventually what had happened was a f t e r about 4 or 5 months, I had received some r e a l l y good counselling from some people who were obviously able to help me, and I recovered enough. And then I said, "Okay, I'm going to go o f f and f i n d myself a job. Travel and Work Abroad Some daughters acknowledged that they considered t h e i r parents' house to be a convenient "home-base" to return to 114 a f t e r extensive t r a v e l l i n g and/or working abroad i n order to reorient themselves to " r e a l i t y " and " l i v i n g " and to re- e s t a b l i s h themselves i n the world. They often observed that returning to Canada afte r t r a v e l l i n g or working abroad f e l t l i k e a r e a l "let-down" because the adventure, freedom to t e s t out new behaviours, and stimulation of being exposed to new people and ideas were suddenly l o s t . This t r a n s i t i o n was experienced as unexpectedly disorienting, and they mention f e e l i n g "culture-shock" or "re-entry shock." Returning to the parental home was often considered a "time-out" or "down-time" i n which one can replenish one's depleted funds, readjust to Canadian culture, process and digest a l l the experiences that one had been exposed to while t r a v e l l i n g and/or working abroad, and l i v e while reestablishing oneself i n Canada (by looking for work and/or going back to school). Often such t r a v e l and work experiences were considered deeply meaningful and i n t e g r a l to shaping new ideas about what one wanted to do with one's l i f e and how one wants to l i v e i t . There i s the perception that one has fundamentally "grown and changed" from such t r a v e l and work experiences abroad. Indeed, the very juxtaposition of the "ordinary home-life" with the "extraordinary/special travel/work experience" may serve as a "catalyst" i n the regrouping process of reexamining and redefining what one wants from work, relationships, and l i f e s t y l e . This could be experienced as both e x c i t i n g and d i s t r e s s i n g . The majority of these daughters noted that i t was 115 i d e a l to contemplate the implications of such meaningful changes i n oneself with respect to future work, r e l a t i o n s h i p , and l i f e s t y l e choices from the comfort and security of the parental home-base, where one could consult with one's parents and friends for advice, encouragement, and support. In contrast to the daughters who have experienced setbacks/crises/losses and seem to be operating from "rock bottom," the daughters who are regrouping a f t e r travel/work abroad (which i s uncomplicated by any d i f f i c u l t i e s / m i s f o r t u n e s ) may be s t a r t i n g out from a stronger p o s i t i o n . Although they may keenly miss t h e i r l i f e s t y l e abroad and may be frustrated that not everyone recognizes how they have grown and changed, they have accessed p o s i t i v e experiences that have altered t h e i r values and aspirations i n a p o t e n t i a l l y transformative rather than d e b i l i t a t i n g manner. Their dilemma l i e s i n attempting to r e a l i z e these al t e r e d views and contemplating how to translate them into r e a l i z a b l e goals and actions. Decision to Change Aspects of One's L i f e Some daughters v o l u n t a r i l y return home i n order to i n t e n t i o n a l l y change/refine and improve some aspect of one's l i f e , be i t f i n a n c i a l , occupational, educational, or r e l a t i o n a l i n nature. This i s a 'proactive stance' i n the quest to become stronger and to improve the q u a l i t y of one's l i f e and rela t i o n s h i p s . The sooner one c l a r i f i e s one's plans, the sooner one i s enabled to be more focused i n taking action, 116 whether that e n t a i l s saving a cert a i n amount of money fo r t u i t i o n or for a downpayment on a condo, or to pursue a degree that w i l l move one closer to achieving an occupational dream, or to resolve issues with a parent. It seems that the few daughters who have c l e a r goals and plans made prior to returning home, given optimal or supportive conditions, may accomplish t h e i r objectives more quickly than those daughters who do not have any d e f i n i t e goals and plans when they i n i t i a l l y return home. In the l a t t e r case these daughters may be "going i n b l i n d " and they need more time to contemplate what they want and c l a r i f y t h e i r goals and plans before they can a c t i v e l y pursue any action. For instance, i n hindsight Lorraine o f f e r s that she wishes she could have been more planful about her return home, although she confesses she didn't have "the ways, or the means, or the understanding to do that" at the time when she was e s p e c i a l l y vulnerable and s t i l l f e e l i n g traumatized from the abuse she suffered from her ex-husband. She indicates: I'd be i n c l i n e d to say that i f I was to go back to where I was before, to have a l i s t of questions--and j u s t say, "Why i s i t that I'm going to be doing this? What else can I do? And what purpose do I have i n being at home? Is t h i s for myself or for my parents, or i s t h i s for both? And not go i n 'blind', l i k e I did before. Context of Individual and Family Background Daughters' personal expectations and attitudes can strongly influence the nature of one's regrouping experience when one coresides at the parental home. F i r s t of a l l , many 117 daughters believed that returning home was an admission of f a i l u r e , exacerbating the experience of f a l t e r i n g by perceiving oneself as "being behind" or "going backwards" i n one's l i f e . Moreover t h i s negative b e l i e f was frequently associated with being older, such that being close to 30 years old or older made i t less acceptable to be l i v i n g at home. Both parents and daughters saw the 20s as a time of exploration and less maturity and experience, and returning home was considered more acceptable and normative because these daughters were s t i l l perceived to need t h e i r parents and were not expected to be established. Yet, many daughters seemed to think that there was something momentous about turning age 30, such that they "should" no longer need t h e i r parents and that they should be established. The self-reproach seems to be, " i f you haven't made i t on your own by age 30, you're a loser." The negative b e l i e f that returning home i s a sign of f a i l u r e often resulted i n feelings of embarrassment and shame about one's current s i t u a t i o n . Kathleen characterizes t h i s as fe e l i n g " l o s e r i s h . " In turn, t h i s often resulted i n daughters not being open with others about t h e i r s i t u a t i o n , and s o c i a l l y avoiding others i n order to protect themselves from anticipated negative judgements, thereby reducing the nature and amount of s o c i a l support or friendships a v a i l a b l e to them during t h i s s i g n i f i c a n t time period when one f e e l s e s p e c i a l l y vulnerable. Thus, whether the return home i s framed as a 118 " f a i l u r e " versus an "opportunity" i s s i g n i f i c a n t to shaping the emotional tone and qual i t y of one's experience at home. The b e l i e f that returning home i s a sign of personal f a i l u r e seems to be quite d e b i l i t a t i n g to ones self-esteem. In contrast, a few of the daughters who believed the return home was not a sign of f a i l u r e , but an opportunity to advance themselves and enjoy t h e i r parents and the comforts of home seemed more r e s i l i e n t and open about t h e i r circumstances with others; thereby maintaining and expanding upon t h e i r s o c i a l support network. Moreover, i n sharing t h e i r circumstances more openly with others they often learned that many others were returning home and that they were not alone or abnormal, thereby normalizing t h e i r experience of returning to the parental home. Second, a key expectation daughters and parents hold i s that the return home to regroup w i l l be "temporary." Some daughters indicated that they had s p e c i f i c timeframes for how long they expected to be home and a deadline for leaving, usually pertaining to something concrete l i k e f i n i s h i n g a degree. Others indicated that t h e i r deadline for leaving would be determined by the achievement of a s p e c i f i c goal ( i . e . , resolving issues with parent(s), saving a c e r t a i n amount of money, finding career niche), which could not be determined i n advance. Regardless, the notion that "this i s only temporary" bolstered many daughters' self-esteem, somehow making the return home more acceptable to themselves and to others. 119 Moreover, as long as daughters believed that t h e i r stay at home was temporary, they could manage the experience of coresiding with t h e i r parents more e f f e c t i v e l y . In repeatedly t e l l i n g themselves "this i s only temporary," they could "put up with" or "tolerate" any negative conditions i n the l i v i n g environment, c o n f l i c t u a l parent-child r e l a t i o n s , or the impositions on friendships and one's s o c i a l l i f e . As some daughters' stays at home became more prolonged, the r e f r a i n , " t h i s i s only temporary," wears thin--such that daughters may experience increased d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with t h e i r current circumstances, and become more prone to question themselves about the wisdom of what they are doing at home and t h e i r a b i l i t y . F i n a l l y , when things take longer than expected, some daughters can psychologically beat themselves up; berating themselves for not accomplishing more, or for not making decisions. They blame themselves for anything that they perceive as delaying action and prolonging the duration of regrouping at home. Interestingly, the c u l t u r a l or ethnic background of daughters and t h e i r parents seemed more relevant to "expectations about home-leaving" as opposed to ideas about returning home to l i v e . For instance, Western values lend themselves to expectations of independence--such that leaving home to l i v e independently i s considered normative and desirable. In t h i s case, White (European e t h n i c i t y ) , predominantly middle-class parents and daughters were both 120 prepared for daughters to leave again aft e r temporarily l i v i n g at home to regroup. In contrast, while daughters from Portuguese, East-Indian, and F i l i p i n o backgrounds saw t h e i r return home as temporary they noted that t h e i r more t r a d i t i o n a l parents seemed to hope that i t was a permanent arrangement. These parents and daughters experienced a c o n f l i c t between the daughters' desire to leave home again and the parents' t r a d i t i o n a l c u l t u r a l expectation that they stay at home u n t i l they marry, or possibly embark upon further s p e c i a l i z e d education necessitating going to u n i v e r s i t i e s away from home. These daughters, more than the White daughters i n the sample, may experience subtle pressure by t h e i r parents to not leave home again. This can produce an i n t e r n a l struggle between the desire the daughter has to be a "good daughter" and remain at home to s a t i s f y her parents' wishes, and the personal desire to spread her wings and discover the world on her own, away from the caring but prying eyes of parents. Under t h i s condition, a daughter may end up staying at home longer than she wishes to. Irene i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s dynamic: "Many times i n the past when I've t r i e d to move out my mom's, but she says we need you. Emotionally we need you. And so, I've r e a l l y f e l t I can't." Context of Family Relationships Daughters described how th e i r family r e l a t i o n s h i p s with t h e i r parents and t h e i r s i b l i n g s personally affected them and the actions they took, i n ways that could both f a c i l i t a t e or 121 hinder t h e i r regrouping process, thereby creating a s a t i s f y i n g and p o s i t i v e experience or an unsatisfying and negative experience while l i v i n g at home. F i r s t , the extent to which one feels welcomed, loved, and supported by one's parents i n returning home to l i v e i s important i n setting the tone and qual i t y of one's coresiding and regrouping experience. When some parents had also " i n v i t e d " t h e i r daughters to come and l i v e with them to ri d e out "rough times," daughters f e l t r elieved that t h e i r parents did not consider them unwelcome and in t r u s i v e burdens i n t h e i r own l i v e s . This was es p e c i a l l y important because several daughters acknowledged they f e l t g u i l t y about imposing on t h e i r parents' retirement—time that should be ju s t for them. These daughters f e l t f l a t t e r e d to be valued and cared for by t h e i r parents, and said that they hoped they could do the same for t h e i r own children one day. Many daughters spoke about how they treasured the companionship and support they experienced with t h e i r parents; culminating i n the g r a t i f y i n g r e a l i z a t i o n that they are not alone i n the world. In turn, daughters reciprocated t h e i r parents' caring and generosity by attempting to maintain and nurture the relat i o n s h i p with t h e i r parents, v o l u n t a r i l y a s s i s t i n g with household chores and errands, sharing meals together, respecting parental privacy, being courteous, negotiating and problem-solving around any issues that a r i s e as soon as possible, and loving t h e i r parents. 122 Within t h i s type of supportive and encouraging parent- c h i l d bond, a few daughters considered t h e i r parents to be valuable models, mentors, and advisors to t h e i r regrouping e f f o r t s . They saw t h e i r parents as having s p e c i a l i z e d knowledge i n c e r t a i n matters, usually professionally, or to be models for " l i v i n g a balanced l i f e s t y l e " and having one's " p r i o r i t i e s i n line"--meaning work, family, and friends are a l l balanced. Within the context of a close and caring bond, Caroline exemplifies how she feels able to seek out her father's knowledge of finances i n order to learn more about f i n a n c i a l l y establishing herself i n the future: And I think, as an adult, there are a l o t of things that I can learn from my parents right now...I'm i n a t r a n s i t i o n a l period so there's a l o t of things that I can learn from them that I think that they know. And from dad I've been learning a lot...Dad has a very good f i n a n c i a l mind and given my s c i e n t i f i c background that's something that I don't have very much knowledge of and I think i t ' s important to learn about. So I've been r e a l l y t r y i n g to learn what I can about that world, just because I have a personal i n t e r e s t i n i t and I want to be able to keep myself supported f i n a n c i a l l y i n the future. So i t ' s sort of learning about a l l the d i f f e r e n t things about investing and about you know, d i f f e r e n t ways of doing business and d i f f e r e n t ways of approaching things. He has a huge amount of years of experience to draw on from there. The caveat i s that daughters' must f e e l that they are seeking out t h e i r parents' input, rather than being the r e c i p i e n t s of the parents' u n s o l i c i t e d advice. This boundary must be c a r e f u l l y preserved, such that daughters f e e l l i k e they are i n control and that they are treated l i k e adults and not l i k e children. Many daughters spoke of attempting to "set 123 boundaries" around privacy, advice-giving, and c r i t i c i s m that they considered to be respectful and appropriate r e l a t i v e to t h e i r status as an adult i n the shared household. When daughters perceive that t h e i r parents are making a s p e c i a l e f f o r t to not treat them as children but as responsible adults, daughters do not f e e l undermined i n t h e i r e f f o r t s to grow and be d i f f e r e n t . This i s i n contrast with the well-meaning parent who cannot help but treat the daughter as a child--by giving u n s o l i c i t e d advice and feedback, by t e l l i n g her what to do, by i n s i s t i n g on curfews or knowing where she i s when she's out, by intruding on her space and privacy, and by c o n t r o l l i n g household use and standards. Several daughters conveyed how such parental behaviours were unhelpful and f r u s t r a t i n g to them, e s p e c i a l l y i f they were s t r i v i n g to become more grounded i n t h e i r own unique voice and perspectives. To deal with t h i s dynamic, Kathleen acknowledged that she had sought out professional counselling to learn how to "negotiate and e s t a b l i s h boundaries with her parents," as well as to "empathize with t h e i r perspective." With respect to family relations, one might think that daughters who came from families who have a h i s t o r y of unresolved issues or unhealthy behaviours ( i . e . , alcoholism, abuse, c o n f l i c t , depression, consistent lack of communication or misunderstanding) would be less l i k e l y to return home to l i v e than those daughters who come from families who do not, 124 however t h i s was not always the case i n t h i s sample. Some daughters w i l l return home, even to " c o n f l i c t u a l " or "unhealthy" families, because they are s t i l l considered a material resource i n a time of need. They perceive that parents have to take them i n . The attitude here seems to be, "I'11 do what I have to do and then get out!" Such daughters often deal with t h i s type of family by having resolved to accept the family the way i t i s and to persevere within i t rather than to make f u t i l e attempts to change the family system. They also attempt to minimize t h e i r exposure to unhealthy patterns of interaction by "being busy away from the parents' home" with s o c i a l a c t i v i t i e s or with educational pursuits, or by i s o l a t i n g themselves i n t h e i r bedrooms. This can be a cause of s t r a i n for the daughter because she may be i d e n t i f i e d as "dif f e r e n t " and perhaps uncooperative i n the family system, such that the family can f e e l affronted by the daughters' lack of p a r t i c i p a t i o n and int e r e s t i n them. Daughters within t h i s type of family context w i l l seldom turn to t h e i r parents for advice because they do not consider them to be a credible or r e l i a b l e source of emotional, psychological, or i n t e l l e c t u a l support. Moreover, they do not do so i n order to avoid any kind of c r i t i c i s m , disparagement, or questioning of t h e i r own values, ideas, plans, and actions. They do not f e e l understood by th e i r parents and do not wish to r i s k a poten t i a l confrontation. Such an inhospitable dynamic i s seldom conducive to a daughter's sense of well- 125 being, and as a resu l t , one may plan to leave home as soon as possible to reduce one's exposure. Interestingly, however, a few daughters dealt with t h e i r parents' lack of support and b e l i e f i n t h e i r plans and th e i r d i r e c t or implied c r i t i c i s m s as an impetus to t r y even harder to succeed at t h e i r goals. They became more determined to prove t h e i r parents' lack of f a i t h wrong, and more determined to be d i f f e r e n t from t h e i r parents by succeeding at having happy and s a t i s f y i n g l i v e s , unlike t h e i r parents. A couple of daughters noted that the decision to return home to resolve interpersonal issues with a parent (usually the mother), occurred only when i t was determined that a s i b l i n g would be absent. A s i b l i n g ' s presence was considered an obstacle to attempts to work through issues and have one- on-one discussions, even confrontations, with a parent. Hence, t h e i r absence assured, i n the daughter's mind, that resolving issues with one's parent could occur without interference. Elaine frames her s i s t e r ' s absence i n the home as an opportunity: I saw i t as a chance where I could deal with the s t u f f with my mom because my s i s t e r ' s very protective of my mom. So with her out of the house I f e l t l i k e I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted to do...which i s work through i t , cause my mom i s very important to me. Indeed, several daughters' negative experiences with t h e i r coresiding s i b l i n g s confirms that the presence of s i b l i n g s could undermine one's e f f o r t s , or make one f e e l unwelcome and unsupported i n the parental home. One has to 126 p e r s i s t i n one's regrouping i n the face of h o s t i l i t y or interference. For instance, Glenda's coresiding brother "shunned" her for the 3 years she l i v e d at home. He did not speak to her or explain what was wrong the en t i r e time, and t h i s was a chronic source of stress that hurt and confused her. F i n a l l y , c u l t u r a l or ethnic background was i n f l u e n t i a l to parent-child re l a t i o n s , daughters' l i f e s t y l e choices, and everyday l i v i n g . A l l the daughters considered themselves to be quite Western and liberal-minded i n t h e i r s o c i a l , sexual, and work v a l u e s — i n c l u d i n g the East Indian, Portuguese, and F i l i p i n o daughters who considered themselves to be quite acculturated to Western values and expectations r e l a t i v e to t h e i r parents. Generally, most daughters experienced t h e i r parents as being more conservative with respect to sexual attitudes, such that several daughters minimized or concealed dating a c t i v i t y from t h e i r parents while they were l i v i n g at home. They indicated that they wanted to protect t h i s aspect of t h e i r private l i v e s from t h e i r parents, and that they wished to avoid any potential judgements and uncomfortable tension. In addition to t h i s reason, Irene also volunteered that she minimized dating because she also wanted to focus e x c l u s i v e l y on f i n i s h i n g her graduate thesis--dating would be a d i s t r a c t i o n she would f e e l g u i l t y about. The consequence of these choices was that several daughters were postponing the development of intimate relationships, thereby putting an 127 important aspect of t h e i r l i v e s on hold. In contrast to the European daughters, the East Indian, and F i l i p i n o daughter observed that t h e i r family r e l a t i o n s tended to be more formal, adhering to a hierarchy i n which the parents are considered the heads of the family, to be respected and l i s t e n e d to, such that daughters may be considered t h e i r parents' children for l i f e , regardless of t h e i r age, education l e v e l , or marital status. One could respond to t h i s c u l t u r a l dynamic by "swallowing one's true opinions" and going along with parents' expectations as Irene did, or by "challenging and questioning the status quo" as Glenda did. Each action has i m p l i c a t i o n s — i n the former case, one s a c r i f i c e s "being myself" with my parents for interpersonal harmony, i n the l a t t e r case, one has the s a t i s f a c t i o n of being true to oneself but at a cost to smooth interpersonal r e l a t i o n s . Context of the Living-Environment Many daughters spoke about the importance of "having one's own space" (physically and temporally), having enough space, and being able to display and use t h e i r own personal belongings i n the parental home. They considered these aspects of t h e i r living-environment to be c r u c i a l to creating privacy for oneself and being able to express oneself through the use of one's time, space, and decor. Moreover, savouring the solitude of one's own room allows one to be oneself, i n a protective s p a c e — i t i s a buffer from the outside world and 128 external stressors. Being able to "cocoon" i n one's room i s an i d e a l form of recuperating and reenergizing as well. Jennifer, who spends a l o t of time i n her bedroom, observes that " i t ' s my l i t t l e haven, my l i t t l e escape. I mostly do my homework, I watch t.v., and I read." She believes that her room i s the "safest place for me to be" and that "a person's space i s part of that i d e n t i t y . " With respect to t h i s , being able to bring things out of storage and place them around oneself creates a sense of belonging, and i t i s the act of making a space "my own" and more "homelike." It seemed important to daughters to create a safe, comfortable, and private environment i n order to f a c i l i t a t e the serious work of building or rebuilding a portion of one's l i f e . The notable absence of t h i s type of self-expression within the living-environment can be a source of f r u s t r a t i o n with larger implications for hindering the development of private parts of s e l f , often considered important to f e e l i n g whole, and the a b i l i t y to engage i n the actions required to r e a l i z e goals relevant to personal well-being and having a q u a l i t y l i f e . Irene observes that "I have to shut away a whole part of myself to work i n t h i s dynamic," thereby undermining her e f f o r t s to f i n i s h her Ph.D. thesis and f e e l whole. She compromises her needs, by "shutting away," i n order to accomodate to her parents expectations and schedules. She elaborates that: shutting away means that I can't express myself i n my own environment--that means I can't organize my 129 space the way I'd l i k e to. Uhm, and I'm just one of those people that desperately needs to decorate, you know, imprint myself on my space. So, uhm, that's one thing I can't do. I can't organize my time the way I'd l i k e to. So, I guess I f e e l a l l the time that I have to organize my l i f e i n snippets, around everyone else's schedules. Not being allowed to have one's own things a l l o c a t e d throughout the living-environment, but li m i t e d to one's bedroom, i s also s i g n i f i c a n t because these things can represent or symbolize who one i s . Personal objects serve as reminders of who I am and the "idealized" p r i o r l i f e that one had on one's own. Not having one's own personal belongings i n the living-environment, because they are i n storage, i n boxes, sold-off, or because there i s no room for them i n the parents' home, can be a source of loss and sadness. Most importantly, i t i s a subtle acknowledgement that the living-environment i s not r e a l l y your space, ultimately i t i s the parent's space. Anne explains: I've got a few of my own objects upstairs, you know, of my former l i f e and who I think I am, so... which ra p i d l y changes (laughs). And that's the whole thing too, you know. I never bring my friends here because i t ' s t h e i r place and none of t h e i r things r e a l l y represents who I am, and uh, you know, because t h i s i s t h e i r place! And there's a c e r t a i n loneliness because of that. Although i t seems obvious, i t should also be acknowledged that the s i z e and qu a l i t y of the daughter's living-environment i s a r e f l e c t i o n of the parent's socioeconomic status. More af f l u e n t parents have larger homes and more resources, and parents with smaller or fixed incomes ( i . e . , retirement) tended to have smaller homes and less resources. With regard 130 to the l a t t e r , there were more "complaints" of "not having enough space," "feeling crowded," or "being i n too close proximity with others;" thereby "reducing privacy" i n the living-environment and "increasing tension"--especially i f there i s competition for the use of space and resources ( i . e . , t.v., computer, kitchen, bathroom). These aspects make l i v i n g at home less enjoyable, and setup a condition where daughters are l i k e l y to expend extra time and energy dealing with these l e s s desirable aspects of d a i l y l i v i n g . This can draw time and attention away from the important business of regrouping. F i n a l l y , a few daughters s p e c i f i c a l l y mentioned how they f e e l "deflated" or "down" when they have to go home a f t e r being at work or engaging i n le i s u r e a c t i v i t i e s outside the home. When they are pressed to explain why t h i s i s the case, they mention that the "atmosphere" of the parental home can be i n f l u e n t i a l . I t i s offered that one can f e e l deflated and down when the atmosphere at home i s " s t i f l i n g " or "unhealthy." This type of atmosphere i s generally attributable to unhappy or tense relationships within the family ( i . e . , parents have an unhappy marriage, parent-depression, parent-alcoholism, parent-daughter f i g h t i n g ) . In describing the "home atmosphere," Oneida used the analogy of the "hospital atmosphere" to convey the d i s t a s t e f u l sense of smell and sickness that can permeate a hospital, e l i c i t i n g f e e l i n g s of discomfort. This type of home atmosphere discourages a daughter's c r e a t i v i t y and a b i l i t y to contemplate her l i f e p l a n s 131 with enthusiasm. A few daughters noted that i t ' s as i f the home environment "contaminates" daughters by passing on feelings and attitudes of negativity and discouragement, which hinders t h e i r e f f o r t s to s t r i v e for higher goals to enhance t h e i r l i v e s . Such an atmosphere does not sustain or encourage growth, rather stagnation. Context of Social Relations and Friendships The majority of the daughters acknowledged that the advice, encouragement, and emotional support that t h e i r friends provided them with was s i g n i f i c a n t to managing t h e i r regrouping process. In fact, i n addition to parents and frequently i n preference over parents, friends were nominated as the ones that daughters were most l i k e l y to turn to--to contemplate one's l i f e p l a n s with, to process t h e i r emotions, to request feedback, and to receive encouragement when t h e i r own enthusiasm or confidence waned. Friends were considered a "resource"--"sounding boards" to contemplate ideas, plans, and strategies with, often without apprehension of judgement. Friends were often considered "safer" to confide i n since there i s a perception that they are less invested and personally involved, r e l a t i v e to parents, and therefore l e s s i n c l i n e d to be c r i t i c a l , dominating, or c o n t r o l l i n g . In fact, i n s t r i v i n g to enhance t h e i r well-being and t h e i r a b i l i t y to achieve t h e i r goals, some daughters spoke of s t r a t e g i c a l l y surrounding themselves with bright, po s i t i v e , and educated friends and acquaintances--"go-getters" who can i n s p i r e them, 132 network with them, brainstorm with them, motivate them, and spur them into action. Given the importance of friends as a support system, one has to wonder what happens to daughters and t h e i r regrouping process i f t h i s support system i s somehow compromised or absent. Relevant to t h i s , i t seems that l i v i n g with one's parents can compromise access to and a f f e c t the nature of one's s o c i a l support system. The majority of the daughters spoke about how l i v i n g i n t h e i r parents' homes was "hard on friendships." The lack of personal privacy, and the desire to respect one's parents' privacy, meant that most daughters f e l t unwilling to entertain t h e i r friends or dates at home. They did not want t h e i r parents to know about t h i s portion of t h e i r l i v e s . The i n a b i l i t y to conveniently have friends over meant that one could p o t e n t i a l l y become s o c i a l l y i s o l a t e d , e s p e c i a l l y i f one did not compensate by "going out" more frequently. Moreover, many daughters noted that not having the private space to entertain i n t h e i r parents' homes hindered the development and maintenance of intimate r e l a t i o n s h i p s with others, e s p e c i a l l y potential partners. Several others acknowledged that they subjec t i v e l y experience a " s o c i a l stigma" (often projections of t h e i r own embarrassment) associated with being an adult and l i v i n g at home. Oneida i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s : I t ' s embarrassing. Like for myself that's number one. I'm not proud of i t . I'm embarrassed of i t . No one's ever responded, but you're s t i l l . . . ' C a u s e I, that's how I guess I would think that of somebody: "You're 133 s t i l l l i v i n g at home". But then I probably wouldn't because I am. So. It's just the way our society i s . It ' s j u s t not done. You leave. They f e l t l i k e " f a i l u r e s " or "losers" for being at home, and they deal with these negative perceptions by not i n v i t i n g others over, and by avoiding putting themselves i n s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n s where others w i l l know they l i v e at home. Although t h i s action protects them i n the short-term, over the long term i t erodes t h e i r s o c i a l support system and exacerbates feelings of loneliness, being misunderstood and being d i f f e r e n t . Societal Context I was immersed i n studying the phenomenon of adult c h i l d r e n returning home to l i v e with t h e i r parents, and I began to notice newspaper a r t i c l e s , books ( i . e . , "The Family Squeeze"), movies ( i . e . , "Mother"), and t.v. shows ( i . e . , "Seinfeld"; "Empty Nest"; "Maggie Winters"; "Providence") that dealt with the topic. Television and movie depictions of boomerang kids often poked fun at the ostensible immaturity of such adult chil d r e n and the dysfunction of t h e i r f a m i l i e s . I had wondered i f daughters, l i k e myself, began to notice such media treatments and were influenced i n some manner. However none of the daughters volunteered any awareness of or i n t e r e s t i n media portrayals of "boomerang kids." Rather, daughters' ideas, expectations, and attitudes about returning home to l i v e were shaped by t h e i r "immediate s o c i a l milieu" of parents, r e l a t i v e s , close friends, 134 acquaintances, and colleagues. It i s within t h i s context that daughters indicated that they had learned about North American/Western society's "sociocultural s c r i p t s " f or defining adulthood--emphasizing that one should be l i v i n g independently of one's parents, and be somewhat f i n a n c i a l l y and occupationally established by the time one reaches 30 years old. Many daughters suggested that today's s o c i o c u l t u r a l s c r i p t s seem to place less emphasis on being i n a stable intimate partnership, or marriage, and having c h i l d r e n - - u n t i l one i s older and established. Today's s c r i p t s , which encompass current expectations and s o c i a l timetables for l i f e t a s k s l i k e leaving home, establishing a career and getting married, should be distinguished from yesterday's s c r i p t s or one's parents' s c r i p t s . In yesterday's-parent's s c r i p t s the timeframe for accomplishing milestones was ti g h t e r or more r i g i d — l i v i n g independently, getting established, and forming one's own family were expected to occur i n one's early twenties. The " s h i f t i n g " quality of the s c r i p t s can be confusing for both daughters and parents, and neither adequately deal with the meaning of adult childr e n returning home to l i v e . Given the ubiquity of such s o c i o c u l t u r a l s c r i p t s , many daughters were exposed, d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y , to the judgement and censure of others who held low opinions of adults returning home to l i v e . This s o c i a l judgement can be 135 experienced as quite harsh and damaging to some daughters. Awareness of departing from the s c r i p t , e s p e c i a l l y pertaining to l i v i n g independently of one's parents, could create dissonance and be frightening for those who accept the v a l i d i t y of the s c r i p t on the one hand, and l i b e r a t i n g for those who questioned the hegemony and v a l i d i t y of the s c r i p t on the other hand. Those daughters who accepted the s c r i p t s tended to harshly judge themselves as "losers" and " f a i l u r e s , " and those who did not, considered themselves too smart to buy into t r a d i t i o n a l ideas and embraced being non-conformist and d i f f e r e n t . The former had a harder time r e c o n c i l i n g t h e i r actual s i t u a t i o n , and grappled with f e e l i n g sorry for themselves at times. Departure from the so c i o c u l t u r a l s c r i p t c a l l s for meaning-making and adaptation. Although many daughters and parents i n i t i a l l y f e l t distraught about daughters returning home, because i t vi o l a t e d what had been expected and attainable for the parents when they were younger, they volunteered that "talking to others" made them r e a l i z e that many other adult children were returning home--thereby "normalizing the experience." In the process of normalizing the return home, i t seems that daughters and t h e i r parents were acknowledging that the sociocultural s c r i p t of independent l i v i n g that parents grew up with may be outdated and that a revised, more " f l u i d " s c r i p t , i s more appropriate i n today's context of extended educational needs, expensive 136 housing, and prolonged singlehood. Some parents and daughters acknowledged that moving back to one's parents' home does not necessarily make one less of an adult, "being responsible" i n one's l i f e emerged as a more important feature. Ultimately, there i s a recognition that "the world i s d i f f e r e n t today." The adaptation of more " f l u i d " s c r i p t s can be more fo r g i v i n g to daughters' self-image and self-esteem. Consequences of Regrouping at the Parental Home The consequences of regrouping at the parental home may be understood i n terms of (a) the status of daughters' a t t a i n i n g t h e i r regrouping objectives and what happens when one's regrouping objectives are met, are underway, or are not going well, (b) the q u a l i t y of the regrouping process as p o s i t i v e or negative r e l a t i v e to the compromises one makes and the complications that ari s e while coresiding i n the parental home, (c) the impact on daughters' sense of s e l f or s e l f - image, and (d) the impact on daughters' relationships with parents. With regard to t h i s , the reader i s reminded that a subset of six daughters, (Barbara, Elaine, Glenda, Hannah, Lorraine, Nancy) who had already l e f t the parental home and one daughter (Deborah) who was i n the process of leaving, provided the c l e a r e s t appreciation of "outcomes" i n the sense that they had ostensibly regrouped and had l e f t the parental home to l i v e independently. This i s i n contrast to several daughters (Anne, Caroline, Farrah, Irene, Jennifer, Kathleen, Maria, Oneida) 137 who were i n the process of regrouping at the parental home. The Status of Attaining Regrouping Objectives Daughters' regrouping objectives included enhancing personal well-being and quality of l i f e i n the future by s t r i v i n g for f i n a n c i a l security, pursuing career and educational plans, and individuating by resolving parent-child r e l a t i o n a l issues. With respect to t h i s , the i n t e r e s t i n g question i s : "Do daughters actually a t t a i n t h e i r regrouping objectives at the parental home"? The answer seems to be, with rare exception, yes. Some daughters are s a t i s f i e d that they have adequately reached t h e i r goals and have l e f t home (Barbara, Elaine, Glenda, Nancy) or leaving i s imminent (Deborah). Usually daughters decide to leave the parental home as soon as they have attained t h e i r regrouping objectives and consider themselves f i n a n c i a l l y capable of l i v i n g independently of t h e i r parents. A few daughters believe that they are heading i n the right d i r e c t i o n and the end i s i n sight with respect to educational-career objectives (Caroline, Irene). Others were s t i l l i n the process and suggest that i t i s too soon to say how everything w i l l turn out (Farrah, Maria, Oneida, Kathleen, Jennifer). One daughter was r e a l l y struggling to "survive" and her stay at home seems prolonged i n d e f i n i t e l y (Anne), and another daughter had to leave the parental home because i t was such an emotionally abusive s i t u a t i o n for her (Hannah). 138 Attaining F i n a n c i a l Security In returning to the parental home to regroup, daughters were s t r i v i n g for more f i n a n c i a l security i n t h e i r l i v e s . As a r e s u l t of regrouping at the parental home, an enormous benefit that a l l daughters enjoyed was r e l i e f from material worries. Having l e s s material worries i s relevant to the notions of "ease of l i v i n g , " "easing pressures" on daughters shoulders, and having more " f i n a n c i a l s t a b i l i t y " because one's immediate material needs for a place to l i v e and access to resources ( i . e . , food, laundry, car, computer) are taken care of by one's parents. Having less material worries meant that a daughter had none to minimal rent or food expenditures, which enabled some daughters to save money for the future, to pay of debts/loans, and to have more expendable or di s c r e t i o n a r y income. In turn, many daughters experienced less worry about the future because they perceived that they were i n a l e s s vulnerable f i n a n c i a l position. For instance, Jennifer says that regrouping at her parent's home "opens" up the future, "because you're not limited to making a rent cheque." Generally speaking, daughters did not abuse t h i s p r i v i l e g e and as soon as they determined that they could be f i n a n c i a l l y independent they sought to leave the parental home. Pursuing Career and Educational Plans Many daughters' regrouping e f f o r t s encompassed the need to assure a q u a l i t y l i f e i n the future by becoming more educated and c l a r i f y i n g one's career niche, thereby assuring f i n a n c i a l security. In doing so, daughters hope to increase t h e i r p o t e n t i a l s a l a r i e s and professional aspirations, as well as to discover one's career niche--whose defining features encompass doing " f u l f i l l i n g " and "rewarding" work that one f e e l s "passionate" about. For many daughters, being able to c l a r i f y one's career niche meant that one was moving forward i n the quest to "be happy," " f e e l complete," and "be l i b e r a t e d " from the "unsatisfying 9 to 5 grind" that one i s currently i n , or the routine-rut that one had seen one's parents plod through i n unrewarding but "secure" work l i v e s . Being a c t i v e l y engaged i n t h i s process was empowering because one was not resigning oneself to an unhappy fate, but moving towards shaping one's own occupational destiny. The departure from routine, unimaginative jobs was experienced as both r i s k y and e x c i t i n g . It does not necessarily matter that one's actual success cannot be prognosticated or guaranteed. As Deborah, who has l e f t her secure f i n a n c i a l advisor job i n favour of exploring a career i n writing, says: It seems more exciting and inte r e s t i n g to go: Okay, t h i s w i l l be hard for awhile, but then you're going to have t h i s huge potential success! And success not j u s t monetarily, but success i n that I'm l i v i n g a l l the elements of l i f e that I need--being passionate and creative about things. So that seems far more ex c i t i n g than doing the same old, same old. In t h i s sense, many daughters believe that regrouping at the parental home has been instrumental to them both educationally and occupationally. They may f e e l c l o s e r to c l a r i f y i n g that career niche, or least that they are moving i n 140 the r i g h t d i r e c t i o n . For instance, Glenda's dream to become a nurse may not have been rea l i z e d without having l i v e d at her parents home for 3 1/2 years while she went to college. She states that her sense of s e l f i s more complete now that she has achieved her nursing degree and i s g a i n f u l l y employed. Individuating i n Parent-Child Relationship For some daughters, developing a stronger sense of s e l f meant "becoming more grounded or centred i n myself," "finding my voice/being assertive," "needing parents approval l e s s , " and " f e e l i n g more solid/integrated" r e l a t i v e to one's parents. In t h e i r quest to become stronger and to have more s a t i s f y i n g parent-child re l a t i o n s , Elaine and Deborah believed that they had s a t i s f a c t o r i l y reconciled interpersonal issues with t h e i r parents. Elaine moved out as soon as she f e l t that she had accomplished her agenda. Deborah chose to stay on as long as she could because she was also engaged i n making a career t r a n s i t i o n and had l e f t her place of employment i n order to write a book. Neither daughter seemed to have made any s i g n i f i c a n t compromises i n order to achieve t h e i r agendas. In t h i s regard, they may have appeared r i g i d or i n f l e x i b l e to t h e i r parents, but to themselves i t was enormously s a t i s f y i n g to withstand any parental objections to the changes they were making i n t h e i r l i v e s . Deborah was s a t i s f i e d that she had attained personal "closure" i n t h i s regard. Elaine noted how resolving some issues with her mother was instrumental to her beginning 141 to f e e l l i k e she had a "stronger i d e n t i t y " - - l i k e her own person and not just her parents' daughter, and to f e e l more "adult." She reports that she i s nearly 100% s a t i s f i e d with having resolved her issues with her mother, and concludes that i t has allowed her to be able to do what she wants without worrying about what her parents think. Most notably, she i s beginning to accept the person she i s becoming i n r e l a t i o n to her mother: I need to be able to accept that her opinion w i l l be d i f f e r e n t than mine sometimes, and that's okay, and that's part of being an adult. You know that I am d i f f e r e n t than my mother. I should be d i f f e r e n t than her because I'm not the same as her; we weren't raised the same way. I think that was a big part of i t , that separation of me from my parent's daughter- -who I am. Quality of the Regrouping at Home Experience Although the daughters indicated that they had attained t h e i r regrouping objectives, or were i n the process of approximating t h e i r regrouping objectives, t h i s does not necessarily imply that r e a l i z i n g one's expectations was easy or straightforward. Indeed, some daughters have negative experiences of regrouping at home because they struggle with i n t e r n a l obstacles ( i . e . , negative b e l i e f s , anxiety, indecision) and external obstacles ( i . e . , parental c r i t i c i s m and lack of emotional support, lack of money) that make i t more d i f f i c u l t to a t t a i n t h e i r personal goals at the pace they would l i k e to. In such cases, daughters seem to be f a l t e r i n g and may remain l i v i n g at home longer than they i n i t i a l l y anticipated, they may characterize the experience of l i v i n g at 142 home as "hard," less s a t i s f y i n g , and they may f e e l t h e i r s e l f - esteem has been somewhat diminished as a r e s u l t . In an extreme case, Hannah l e f t home when the arguing between her and father culminated i n her being "kicked out." Although she saved money for t r a v e l and a condo, she states that she was unable to grow i n other aspects of her l i f e ( i . e . , professionally, i n t e l l e c t u a l l y , emotionally). S u f f i c e i t to say that returning to the parental home to regroup may not be a straightforward p o s i t i v e or negative experience from daughters' perspectives because there are varying l e v e l s of compromises and s a c r i f i c e s that may accompany returning home to regroup. Some compromises are known and anticipated i n returning home, however other compromises and complications may be unexpected and a r i s e while one i s coresiding with one's parents. The extent and the si g n i f i c a n c e of such personal compromises ( i . e . , of one's independence, freedom, privacy, a b i l i t y to be oneself, persevering i n an unhealthy family dynamic, q u a l i t y of s o c i a l l i f e and intimate relations, r i s k i n g others' judgement), and the extent to which they are considered acceptable, tol e r a b l e , temporary, and worthwhile w i l l also determine whether regrouping at home i s considered s a t i s f a c t o r y or not. In considering whether or not i t i s good or bad for her to be at home at t h i s time, Jennifer responds with ambivalence: Well, p r a c t i c a l l y i t should be good, but i n some ways I think i t ' s not....(pause). I don't know. I guess... (pause) I don't know. I haven't quite figured that one out. 143 Ultimately, daughters who make greater personal compromises and s a c r i f i c e s to be at home, and also experience a greater degree of f a l t e r i n g , may experience diminished p o t e n t i a l to enhance personal well-being and qual i t y of l i f e i n the future r e l a t i v e to other daughters who do not. The number and significance of compromises and complications that ari s e i n daughters' l i f e contexts, i n turn, culminate i n the degree to which the daughters' consider t h e i r experiences of regrouping as posit i v e or negative. For instance, Farrah's compromise e n t a i l s her decision to persevere i n an unhealthy family atmosphere so that she can pursue her graduate degree plans--at r i s k to her mental and emotional well-being. She finds i t quite devastating to witness her family's unhealthy dynamic and her mother's alcoholism unchanged. Moreover, t h e i r disparagement of her in t e r e s t s and l i f e s t y l e hurt her deeply. Pursuing her passion and career pathway i n music i s a constant b a t t l e because she fe e l s that her family "sabotages" her e f f o r t s to pra c t i c e her music. Given t h i s , she rates her l e v e l of emotional s a t i s f a c t i o n with l i v i n g at home as quite low ( i . e . , 1 to 3 out of 7). She w i l l accomplish her goals, but not without s i g n i f i c a n t emotional cost to herself, such that the experience of l i v i n g and regrouping at home may be considered a highly negative experience. Farrah acknowledges that regrouping at the parental home i s not completely the best place for her to be. However, she 144 c l i n g s to the hope that i t w i l l be worth i t i n the long run. She weighs the pros and cons i n the present against the po t e n t i a l returns she forsees i n the future. Thus the notion that returning to the parental home to regroup i s "easy" i s dismissed as untrue for many daughters. Instead i t i s e x p l i c i t l y acknowledged that regrouping at the parental home often e n t a i l s "giving up something to get something." Returning home to regroup seems to e n t a i l a willingness to make compromises that others' may not recognize or gloss over as i n s i g n i f i c a n t . Jennifer observes: But you get comments from people you know. People think that i t ' s a r e a l "swan" that you're doing nothing and not paying, maybe 'cause they're envious. But, I think people, i f they've had to make the choice, they don't choose to l i v e at home. They choose to work f u l l time and claim that they don't have the luxury of going to school and then have t h e i r own place. So i t ' s a compromise and people don't necessarily see that. Therefore, the a b i l i t y to enhance personal well-being and qu a l i t y of l i f e i n the future may be diminished by s i g n i f i c a n t compromises or unanticipated complications i n daughters' l i f e contexts. This, i n turn, affects the o v e r a l l q u a l i t y of the experience and decisions to leave or to remain at the parental home. I t ' s as i f a r a t i o of subjectively weighted f a c t o r s - such as the nature and qual i t y of regrouping process ( f a l t e r i n g versus advancing) and i t s outcomes r e l a t i v e to the nature and amount of compromises and other "negatives" associated with l i v i n g at the parental home culminate i n a net r e s u l t — t h e extent to which the o v e r a l l experience i s 145 considered negative or pos i t i v e . Daughters (and t h e i r parents) frequently described a negative experience as being "hard," " d i f f i c u l t , " and "unsatisfying," whereas a p o s i t i v e experience was characterized as "easy," "comfortable," and " s a t i s f y i n g . " Thus, even when regrouping objectives are met or well underway, a daughter may s t i l l consider her experience to be somewhat negative i f some important aspect of herself ( i . e . , expression of s e l f , self-esteem) or her relationships ( i . e . , s e x - l i f e on-hold, f a l l i n g out with parents) has been diminished. In the daughter's mind t h i s may seem l i k e an acceptable "trade-off," temporarily s a c r i f i c i n g or compromising aspects of herself and her l i f e i n order to achieve a larger goal. Having said t h i s , i t does not mean that t h i s i s an easy road to t r a v e l . Indeed, as Hannah who "has been to h e l l and back" implies, "the road to h e l l i s paved with good intentions." In t h i s sense, there may be ambivalence about the wisdom of returning home to regroup i n the sense that accomplishing personal goals may be done at the expense of the daughter's emotional well-being or family r e l a t i o n s . Some daughters may ask themselves, "Does the end j u s t i f y the means?" Hannah may o f f e r some insight into t h i s dilemma. After leaving/being kicked out by her father during a heated f i g h t , she can now see that she had compromised herself and her i n t e g r i t y by valuing money or materialism over being true to hers e l f and her own values concerning freedom, education, and 146 s p i r i t u a l i t y . In retrospect she sees how being at home was damaging to these " f i n e r " ideals she aspired to, and as a r e s u l t "my self-esteem r e a l l y sunk while I was there." She observes that "I was w i l l i n g to suffer to save money before, whereas I'm not w i l l i n g to do that now." She elaborates that, When I was i n Europe I had a l l these free ideas about money and how money i s not important and I had t h i s philosophy, but then I went back home and moved back with them afte r I came back and I started to forget what I had learned. And when I l e f t again, I remembered i t a l l again. And i t ' s l i k e , "What was I thinking?" It's almost l i k e i t was a l l repressed f o r a l l that time and then i t came out again and I remembered who I was again! There i s a danger, perhaps a cautionary note, that one take care not to jeopardize one's emotional, psychological, and s p i r i t u a l well-being i n favour of g r a t i f y i n g material needs. Impact on Sense of Self In regrouping at the parental home many daughters s t r i v e towards developing a stronger sense of s e l f , which consists of "f e e l i n g whole," "grounded," "centred," "assertive," and "confident." For many daughters, becoming stronger also centred around "overcoming v u l n e r a b i l i t y " ( i . e . , f i n a n c i a l , emotional, psychological) by recuperating and reenergizing a f t e r a s i g n i f i c a n t setback or time of t r a n s i t i o n i n one's l i f e . For Maria she asserts that regrouping at her mother's home means that, "I think for me, i t ' s coming back to my centre of power and my rebalancing i n my own l i f e I think. And kind of taking what I need from the past and leaving the rest behind." 147 Ultimately, several daughters noted that overcoming v u l n e r a b i l i t y and becoming stronger i n the face of d i f f i c u l t i e s i n t h e i r l i v e s created a stronger sense of t h e i r inner r e s i l i e n c e and capacity to handle " l i f e ' s curve-balls." Of the daughters who were s t r i v i n g to become stronger a f t e r a setback or during a t r a n s i t i o n a l time, they were attempting to "ground" or "centre" themselves i n the face of f e e l i n g v u l n e r a b i l i t y , fragmentation, and confusion. Relevant to t h i s , Maria says returning home to regroup f a c i l i t a t e d her a b i l i t y to become a stronger person i n r e l a t i o n to understanding and " l e t t i n g go of the past" ( i . e . , childhood issues with parents) so that she can move forward with her l i f e and hopefully e s t a b l i s h a healthy intimate r e l a t i o n s h i p with a man. She observes that, I am getting stronger and that I can stand my ground with whatever or whomever enters my l i f e - - a n d j u s t have the c a p a b i l i t y of handling i t . Being able to know that at home, or i n relationships, or at work that I can stand my ground and f e e l whole. Unfortunately, s t r i v i n g to develop a stronger sense of s e l f i n the face of a s i g n i f i c a n t l i f e - t r a n s i t i o n (chosen or not) can be undermined by exposure to others' judgements that returning to the parental home i s inappropriate. Many daughters' sense of s e l f was negatively impacted by t h i s . They spoke of the embarrassment and shame that they f e l t about returning to the parental home. They often said that they f e l t l i k e "losers" or " f a i l u r e s " i n t h e i r own eyes, as well as i n the eyes of others. Jennifer says that s t r i v i n g to maintain 148 her sense of s e l f i s a core issue that she contends with since her return to her mother and stepfather's home: Maintaining who you are i n spite of the way society views moving home--sort of maintaining a sense of who I am, and my pride i n who I am despite how people may view what I do, what I'm doing. That's sort of how I see i t . It's a big joke, i s n ' t i t , people who s t i l l l i v e with t h e i r parents? She elaborates that the process of maintaining a sense of "who I am" has also been unwittingly undermined by the presence of her parents. Since she i s fee l i n g so f r a g i l e and fragmented these days, as she struggles to get her l i f e together, she confesses that she feels "inadequate" i n comparison to her parents who are "saints" and so "together." Others may compare themselves unfavourably to t h e i r peers who seem to be moving forward with t h e i r l i v e s professionally and r e l a t i o n a l l y . They see themselves as " f a l l i n g behind" because they have returned to t h e i r parents' home. Another repercussion of returning home to some daughters' sense of s e l f was the concern that they had compromised t h e i r "independence." They feared that they may become dependent on t h e i r parents. "Becoming dependent" signalled, for a few, an inc a l c u l a b l e loss i n which the freedom to be oneself and the sheer appreciation of one's capacity to l i v e independently and make i t on one's own i s compromised. In turn, they often f e l t that they had traded t h e i r "adult status" for a " c h i l d status" because they were dependent--such that they sometimes f e l t l e s s responsible and competent r e l a t i v e to t h e i r peers, and were often treated l i k e children by t h e i r parents. A few 149 daughters joked about the t e r r i f y i n g prospect of s t i l l l i v i n g at home 10 years i n the future--how h o r r i b l e and demeaning t h i s would be! Yet the ambivalence about "giving up one's independence for comfort" hints at the seductive temptation of staying at the parental home beyond one's own subjective determination of what i s necessary and reasonable. Impact on Relationships with Parents Regrouping i s often characterized as a s e l f - i n v o l v e d and personal process, where one i s primarily concentrating one's time, attention, and e f f o r t s on oneself. Although t h i s regrouping process transpires within the interpersonal context of the family, some daughters describe t h e i r f amilies as being quite peripheral to t h e i r plans and a c t i v i t i e s . Their personal goals and a c t i v i t i e s figure prominently i n the foreground of t h e i r l i v e s , whereas t h e i r relationships with parents and s i b l i n g s are relegated to the background. Given t h i s p r e d isposition during the regrouping process, an inadvertent consequence i s that the family members l i v i n g within the parental household function quite independently of each other. Jennifer uses the metaphor of "ships passing i n the night" to convey t h i s "independent" quality of interpersonal r e l a t i o n s : I guess that the metaphor for that would be ships, and that's going to sound c l i c h e , ships passing i n the night or whatever. But I f e e l we're each very industrious i n our own ways, and we're very much independent. But we cross paths and we communicate. But we're d e f i n i t e l y , very d e f i n i t e l y our own units, kind of thing. Yeah. It's kind of l i k e that I guess. We kind of cruise around each other! (laughing) In choosing to l i v e f a i r l y independently of one's 150 parents' and s i b l i n g s ' d a i l y a c t i v i t i e s , i n favour of pursuing one's own a c t i v i t i e s , some daughters seem to consider the parental home as a p r a c t i c a l and free place to be without necessarily making a substantial commitment to spending time with other family members. Yet t h i s does not mean that a number of these daughters do not worry about the consequences of t h i s action on t h e i r parents. The i n d i v i d u a l and private nature of regrouping that may e n t a i l "shutting parents out" ra i s e s daughters' concerns (and possibly g u i l t ) about inadvertently hurting parents' feelings and making them f e e l unimportant. Jennifer i l l u s t r a t e s t h i s concern: But you see I worry because you see I'm so into myself. I do--I wash up and I do the meals and things l i k e that, so we do kind of bond over those things, but I'm r e a l l y into myself. Like I spend a l l my time i n my room, and I worry about them. Like I don't want them to f e e l that I'm shutting them out, but I do shut them out to a point. So, yes, i t i s p o s i t i v e i n c e r t a i n ways, but I worry that I'm not giving them exactly what they would hope for. Ultimately, one's parents (and s i b l i n g s ) cannot be e n t i r e l y ignored, l i k e background noise, as the l i k e l i h o o d of tension or c o n f l i c t a r i s i n g may be higher under these conditions. When daughters' do not communicate with or spend time with t h e i r parents, parents may object to being treated as an inconvenience or an obligation that must be tolerated. They indicate that they deserve to be respected and make pointed remarks about these daughters needing to be more considerate and courteous of parents' needs, wishes, space, and belongings. Anne's parents say: 151 We have arguments with her, you know, and we ju s t f e e l that there's no way out for us and i t ' s so hard. Anne l i k e s her own way and expects us to go along with her and that's no good because she should consider us more than she does because we have our l i f e to l i v e . Thus, i n choosing to regroup at the parental home, daughters must deal with t h e i r parents i n addition to dealing with one's own concerns. For some daughters, "dealing with parents" means responding to t h e i r concerns, complaints, c r i t i c i s m s , requests, and advice. This i s part of the pri c e of returning to the parental home to regroup. Some days t h i s may f e e l onerous because one of the benefits of having l i v e d independently for years was that one did not have to deal with one's parents on a consistent basis, e s p e c i a l l y from such close proximity. Although daughter's often benefit from parents' f i n a n c i a l support as they seek to achieve t h e i r regrouping objectives, a source of "tension" exists between parents and daughters concerning how much assistance i s considered appropriate by daughters. Daughters are very sensitive and protective of t h e i r independence. Therefore, parents who are too i n t r u s i v e i n attempting to a s s i s t t h e i r daughters may r i s k t h e i r i r e . Caroline's mother observes that there i s some tr e p i d a t i o n about helping t h e i r daughter without being too i n t r u s i v e or heavyhanded: Caroline came back f r a g i l e and we wanted to help b u i l d her confidence a l l the time, and so we didn't want to say a l o t . So i t ' s been hard sometimes and things got better by the f a l l . We wanted her to be a part of our l i f e , but we didn't want to i n t e r f e r e with 152 her l i f e and we didn't know how much she was w i l l i n g to share--which she didn't share a l o t i n the beginning. She didn't want us to have anything to do with the fellow she l e f t . Uhm, and as she started to make a l i f e for herself i n Vancouver things became much easier. In contrast, other parents 'dive i n ' and become more heavily involved i n helping t h e i r daughters, as Barbara's parents did by "closing ranks" and " c i r c l i n g the wagons" around t h e i r daughter when her husband abandoned her. Barbara's mother hints at her concern that t h e i r impulse to protect t h e i r daughter may have overwhelmed her and been overly i n t r u s i v e , robbing her of the freedom to exercise her own w i l l . Barbara agrees that she i s extremely frustrated with how her parents tend to make decisions for her or act p r e c i p i t o u s l y without consulting her. Although parents are aware that t h e i r daughters are now adults, they admit that they can inadvertently overstep t h e i r daughters' boundaries. "Crossing t h i s l i n e " i s tantamount to t r e a t i n g daughters l i k e children. Barbara's mom notes that, It' s very hard because Barbara r e a l l y never has never r e a l l y been out on her own, so i t ' s very hard to remember that she's a 30-year old woman with two children, and not just Barbara, my l i t t l e g i r l . This may create tension i n the parent-child r e l a t i o n s h i p because daughters' consider regrouping to be t h e i r personal business. Parents have been sensitized to t h e i r daughter's need for boundaries. Caroline's dad notes that "we're u l t r a s e n s i t i v e to not putting forth our views to her-- t i p t o e i n g around her." In contrast, Barbara's dad cannot 153 r e s i s t speaking his mind: Sometimes I'm i n c l i n e d not to o f f e r advice, but to TELL them. And then I'm t o l d to "Get l o s t ! To go and feed your cats." I'm i n c l i n e d to forget that and overstep a bit...You know you have to walk a fi n e l i n e . Sometimes I go over the l i n e and I'm pushed back. Interestingly, the amount of tension experienced between a daughter and her mother and a daughter and her father was frequently not considered the same by daughters and t h e i r parents. Barbara's mother of f e r s that for her "the hardest part of l i v i n g together i s two women i n one house." She elaborates: Yeah, I think i t ' s very much easier for my husband, because the father-daughter r e l a t i o n s h i p i s n ' t nearly as complex as a mother-daughter r e l a t i o n s h i p . Generally, "mother-daughter tension" was mentioned more frequently than father-daughter tension i n parent-child r e l a t i o n s . This was considered a r e f l e c t i o n of (a) father's generally having been more peripheral i n daughters' upbringing and a c t i v i t i e s ; (b) mothers having been more involved i n t h e i r daughter's upbringing, a c t i v i t i e s , and sharing a more intense emotional bond; (c) daughters generally f e l t that t h e i r p e r s o n a l i t i e s or sty l e s of communication were more s i m i l a r to t h e i r fathers ( i . e . , more laid-back, more d i r e c t , more a n a l y t i c a l , more humorous) than t h e i r mothers; and (d) daughters generally considered t h e i r mothers to be much more se n s i t i v e to any perceived c r i t i c i s m or s l i g h t s i n comparison to t h e i r fathers. Relevant to t h i s mother-daughter tension, Deborah notes that her mother i s more "stressed out by my 154 presence than dad since she doesn't want to play mother anymore" (e.g., drudge work of cooking, grocery shopping, cleaning for a family again). Her mother concedes that, "Once you're a mother, you're always a mother. But I'm t r y i n g to l e t go of that r o l e and not s l i p up." Not su r p r i s i n g l y , a core issue i n parent-child r e l a t i o n s h i p s has to do with establishing adequate boundaries. Invariably, daughters indicate that dealing with parents means constantly "negotiating boundaries"--which takes considerable energy, persistence, and know-how. In a few cases, daughters lacked the necessary knowledge of how to adequately deal with parents and sought out professional counselling. Certainly, a higher degree of parental involvement may be appreciated by some daughters as supportive and helpful, but a few daughters experienced t h i s as "parental interference"--unwelcome, i n t r u s i v e , and unhelpful. For instance, Lorraine observes that her parents badgered her with questions about why she had returned home, hindering her capacity to heal from an abusive marriage that she wished to conceal from her parents, and she concludes that they "wouldn't allow me to do what I needed to do i n order to move on." In t h i s regard she stated that she believed that regrouping at the parental home was unhelpful. She observes: I thought i t to be very unhelpful. Uhm, I had cousins who were more understanding of my s i t u a t i o n than my parents were. And, i t turned out that, uhm, when I talked with my cousins i t was more to t a l k about what I ac t u a l l y wanted to do, where I was going to go, and how I was going to deal with the future-- rather than actually dealing with the past, which was being l e f t behind, and not one that needs to be dredged up. And so that's what I f e l t at that time, and being at home and trying to do that regrouping was very d i f f i c u l t because there was always, "Oh well, what would so and so think of t h i s ? " I t ' s l i k e , "I don't know what he thinks!" Although Lorraine eventually figured out what she wanted to do with her l i f e and became strong enough to venture out on her own again, she considered her o v e r a l l experience at her parents' home to be quite negative because she found i t personally d i f f i c u l t to deal with her parents' questions and reactions to her being at home. In turn, t h i s adversely affected her relationship with her parents. She concludes that returning home to regroup created h o s t i l i t y and miscommunication with her parents, a dynamic they had not previously experienced together, r e s u l t i n g i n a l a s t i n g " r i f t " that she s t i l l struggles to come to grips with today. She comments on her relationship with them: I don't know you guys, and you don't know me. And that was very i n t e r e s t i n g . I think i t devastated a l l three of us because we thought i t was a relation s h i p , that we thought we got along well, but we didn't. We're a l l three very strong p e r s o n a l i t i e s . In contrast to Lorraine, some daughters acknowledged that t h e i r relationships with t h e i r parents had improved ( i f strained), while others said that t h e i r r elationships remained l a r g e l y unchanged as a re s u l t of returning home to l i v e . When re l a t i o n s were quite s a t i s f y i n g , daughters generally reported that they f e l t quite lucky with t h e i r current circumstances and suggested that the positive relations enhanced t h e i r 156 regrouping and coresiding experience. For instance, Caroline i s g r a t i f i e d that she has received the emotional and f i n a n c i a l help and support she needed from her parents. Seeing Caroline and her parents together, one could also not help but be struck by the mutual caring and respect with which they regarded one another. Unfortunately for some daughters, returning home to regroup may unexpectedly diminish the qu a l i t y of parent-child r e l a t i o n s . This i s a r i s k some daughters unknowingly make When they return to the parental home to regroup, as i l l u s t r a t e d by Lorraine's or Anne's more extreme negative experiences with t h e i r parents. Summary of Study Findings In t h i s theory, daughters return home to l i v e with t h e i r parents i n order to regroup after travelling/working abroad, and/or i n response to personal setbacks/crises, and/or decisions to change an aspect of one's l i f e ( i . e . , saving money, becoming educated, reappraising/shifting career pathway, resolving parent-child issues). Regrouping at the parental home involves taking some time to reenergize, to recuperate, and to contemplate one's l i f e and immediate plans i n order to get a fresh s t a r t i n some aspect of one's l i f e and, ultimately, to move out on one's own again. The intention i s to pursue, even accelerate, the r e a l i z a t i o n of personal goals and plans without having the obstacle or d i s t r a c t i o n of having to spend time, energy, and worry i n meeting basic s u r v i v a l needs ( i . e . , housing, food). Regrouping seems to be a 157 highly personal and private process that can encompass i n d i v i d u a l and/or f a m i l i a l issues. As the core process and imperative, the focus of daughters' regrouping e f f o r t s can encompass contemplating and pursuing career or educational plans, s t r i v i n g to a t t a i n f i n a n c i a l security, and individuating i n the parent-child r e l a t i o n s h i p . The int e n t i o n i s to enhance one's personal well-being and assure the l i k e l i h o o d of having a quality l i f e i n the future. Regrouping at the parental home i s embedded or nested within the immediate context of a daughter's i n d i v i d u a l and family background, family relations, l i v i n g environment, and the i n t e r r e l a t e d but more peripheral context of s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s and friendships, and society's s o c i o c u l t u r a l s c r i p t s (Figure 1). These contextual conditions, the nature of the l i f e - e v e n t s that precipitated regrouping and daughters' actions, influence the tone or quality of regrouping at home-- i t s duration, l e v e l of d i f f i c u l t y , and emotional i n t e n s i t y , and complexity. Therefore, daughters' l i f e - c o n t e x t mediates and influences the regrouping process i n both f a c i l i t a t i v e and hindering ways. Daughters do not experience a simple, uncomplicated l i n e a r forward movement towards attaining goals; rather they experience an o s c i l l a t i n g pattern between " f a l t e r i n g " and "advancing" i n t h e i r e f f o r t s to r e a l i z e valued goals. The regrouping process may s h i f t from f a l t e r i n g to advancing and from advancing to f a l t e r i n g as a r e s u l t of p o s i t i v e and 158 negative turning points ( i . e . , c l a r i f y i n g one's plan, making a s o l i d decision, getting a job, having a big f i g h t with a parent) i n daughters' l i v e s . The o s c i l l a t i o n back and f o r t h within the regrouping process has implications for a fl u c t u a t i n g sense of s e l f or self-image. Advancing with a t t a i n i n g personal expectations and goals i s associated with moving forward and fee l i n g confident, optimistic, secure, and focused; whereas f a l t e r i n g i n the regrouping process i s associated not moving forward and with f e e l i n g f r u s t r a t i o n , anxiety, insecurity, and depression. The i d e a l outcomes of regrouping include enhancing personal well-being ( i . e . , becoming stronger) and enhancing the q u a l i t y of l i f e i n the future by s t r i v i n g f or f i n a n c i a l security, becoming educated, c l a r i f y i n g one's career niche, and resolving parent-child relationship issues. Ideally, when one's personal goals are well underway or attained, one leaves the parental home to l i v e independently. Yet one may also decide to continue to regroup at the parental home by se t t i n g new personal goals to achieve after i n i t i a l goals have been r e a l i z e d . In t h i s sense, the regrouping process may be considered c y c l i c a l because one i s beginning the regrouping process anew with another goal. However, some daughters have negative experiences of regrouping at home because they struggle with i n t e r n a l ( i . e . , negative b e l i e f s , anxiety, indecision) and external obstacles ( i . e . , parental c r i t i c i s m and lack of emotional support, lack 159 of money), which exacerbate f a l t e r i n g and makes i t more d i f f i c u l t to a t t a i n t h e i r personal goals at the pace they would l i k e to, possibly prolonging t h e i r stay at the parental home. Moreover, daughters' optimal regrouping experience may be diminished by the varying lev e l s of compromises/sacrifices and complications that may accompany returning to the parental home to regroup. Some of these compromises may be anticipated i n advance by daughters, and other compromises or complications may arise unexpectedly while one i s l i v i n g at the parental home. The extent and the si g n i f i c a n c e of such compromises ( i . e . , giving up one's independence, freedom, privacy, a b i l i t y to be oneself, s o c i a l l i f e and intimate r e l a t i o n s , and persevering i n an unhealthy family), and the extent to which such compromises are considered acceptable, tol e r a b l e , temporary, and worthwhile w i l l also determine whether l i v i n g at home and regrouping at home i s considered s a t i s f a c t o r y or not. The amount and significance of the compromises made i n daughters' everyday l i v i n g contexts, r e l a t i v e to one's i d e a l i z e d expectations and goals, may culminate i n the degree to which the regrouping process and l i v i n g at the parental home i s characterized as "positive" or "negative" by daughters. I f daughters who make greater personal compromises/sacrifices while at home experience a high degree of f a l t e r i n g , then they may experience a diminished capacity 160 to enhance t h e i r personal well-being and t h e i r q u a l i t y of l i f e i n the future r e l a t i v e to those who had more p o s i t i v e experiences. In such a negative case, these daughters may leave home because remaining i s considered too detrimental to t h e i r well-being. However, some daughters may remain i n t h i s negative s i t u a t i o n as they may perceive that there are no other acceptable alternatives. These findings have implications for theory and counselling practice, and these w i l l be elaborated upon i n the following chapter. 161 CHAPTER V DISCUSSION In t h i s f i n a l chapter, I begin by comparing relevant l i t e r a t u r e with the study findings i n order to demonstrate the contribution of t h i s project with regard to the e x i s t i n g knowledge about the experience of adult childr e n who have returned to the parental home. Certainly, the f i n a l task i n generating a grounded theory i s to determine i t s relevance (Glaser, 1999). The significance of t h i s theory i s demonstrated i n part by highlighting i t s s i m i l a r i t i e s and discrepancies with other work. Literature that addresses the core aspects of t h i s theory ( i . e . , reasons for returning home to coreside with parents, l i f e - s p a n development, adaptation and change, parent-child relations) has been considered. The extant l i t e r a t u r e previously reviewed i n Chapter II i s reinterpreted i n l i g h t of t h i s study's findings. A discussion of the l i m i t a t i o n s of the study i s included, followed by implications for counselling adult children who return home to l i v e , and recommendations for future research and p o l i c y . Contribution to the Extant Literature This study sought to explore the core s o c i a l and psychological processes that female adult childr e n experience when they return to the parental home to l i v e . "Regrouping" i s the core concept within the theoreti c a l model constructed. The women i n t h i s study engaged i n regrouping--a multifaceted process that encompasses taking time to recuperate, 162 reenergize, and to contemplate and pursue one's l i f e plans i n response to s a l i e n t life-events and choices. The int e n t i o n i s to pursue, even accelerate, the r e a l i z a t i o n of personal goals and plans without having the obstacle or d i s t r a c t i o n of having to spend time, energy, and worry i n meeting basic s u r v i v a l needs ( i . e . , housing, food). The focus of women's regrouping e f f o r t s i n t h i s study encompassed career-educational plans, s t r i v i n g to a t t a i n f i n a n c i a l security, and individu a t i n g i n the parent-child relationship. The extent to which women " f a l t e r " or "advance" i n th e i r regrouping e f f o r t s i s affected by the contextual conditions of in d i v i d u a l and family background, family relations, the l i v i n g environment, friendships and s o c i a l relations, and society's s o c i o c u l t u r a l s c r i p t s . The lif e - e v e n t s and choices p r e c i p i t a t i n g a return home, and the actions women engage i n also influence the regrouping process and i t s outcomes. About the Female Adult Children i n the Study The growing trend of parent-adult c h i l d coresidence has been documented i n Canada (Boyd & Pryor, 1989; Boyd & Norris, 1999), and the United States (Glick & Lin, 1986; Grigsby & McGowan, 1986; DaVanzo & Goldscheider, 1990). Boyd and Norris' (1999) Canadian census data indicate that i n 1996, 47% of unmarried women aged 20-34 and 56% of unmarried men aged 20-34 coreside with t h e i r parents. Coresiding with parents i s not exc l u s i v e l y done by younger adults either. More and more "older" adults are coresiding at home. As of 1996, 33% of 163 unmarried women aged 25 and over and 40% of unmarried men coreside with t h e i r parents. This study focused on women's experiences of returning to the parental home i n adulthood. Similar to Boyd and Norris' (1999) census data, the women i n th i s study were si n g l e and somewhat older--ranging i n age from 24 to 44 years, with an average age of 29.5 years. Despite the fact that there are more men l i v i n g at home with t h e i r parents, i t was women who came forward to volunteer for t h i s study. They were interested i n describing t h e i r experiences i n a face-to-face research interview. In terms of gender roles, i t has been speculated that smaller percentages of adult women l i v e at home because they prefer l i v i n g independently over being c l o s e l y supervised at home and that they are more capable of household maintenance r e l a t i v e to men (Boyd & Pryor, 1989; DaVanzo & Goldscheider, 1990; Ward & Spitze, 1992). The implication i s that coresidence may be less desirable for women than for men. It may be speculated that the women i n t h i s study were experiencing coresiding d i f f i c u l t i e s and/or were more w i l l i n g to discuss t h i s i n order to a l l e v i a t e or resolve d i f f i c u l t i e s . Some women suggested that the research interview was an opportunity to "vent and process" d i f f i c u l t coresiding experiences. One woman s p e c i f i c a l l y mentioned that i t provided "closure" regarding parent-child issues. A few women also confided that they had pursued professional counselling i n order to learn how to better manage t h e i r parents and to 164 figure out how to move on with t h e i r l i v e s personally and pro f e s s i o n a l l y . Certainly the women's s a t i s f a c t i o n ratings with coresiding were f a i r l y low, ranging from 1 to 6, with a mean r a t i n g of 4.35 (out of 7). This i s lower than Ward and Spitze's (1996) p r i o r findings that return coresidents (60% sons) were f a i r l y s a t i s f i e d with coresiding, with a mean rat i n g of 5.3 (out of 7). Daughters often resented t h e i r lack of independence and privacy while coresiding with parents, and suggested that i t was a challenge to maintain t h e i r boundaries. Having to deal with t h e i r parents' unwanted attention, advice, or intervention while pursuing t h e i r valued l i f e goals was a common theme. The desire to protect t h e i r independence as well as conceal t h e i r private dreams, goals, and concerns was so strong that the majority of the women i n t h i s study did not wish to share t h e i r perceptions and experiences with t h e i r parents i n a shared interview format. This seems to speak to the defensiveness and protectiveness women f e e l about preserving t h e i r status as an autonomous adult with r i g h t s to privacy, independence, and the capacity to do things ( i . e . , make career choices, seek out intimate relationships, save money) i n t h e i r own way. The int e n s i t y of t h i s desire i s something that p r i o r findings i n the l i t e r a t u r e have not documented. R e v i s i t i n g Reasons for Adult Children Returning Home The reasons c i t e d for adult children returning home 165 include: lower incomes (Boyd & Pryor, 1989), housing costs, unemployment, and divorce (Glick & Lin, 1986; Heer et a l . , 1985), prolonged post-secondary education enrolments, fluctuations i n the labour market, and remaining unmarried longer (Boyd & Norris, 1999). With respect to economic-related factors, M i t c h e l l and Gee (1995) document 81% of t h e i r Canadian sample of 218 "boomerang kids" stated economic reasons for returning home. A break-down of these reasons revealed that 26.1% reported " f i n a n c i a l problems," 19.3% indicated that they returned to "save money," and 13.3% stated that they had returned due to t r a n s i t i o n a l or temporary reasons ( i . e . , finished t r a v e l l i n g ) . Some had returned for school-related reasons (12.8%), and a smaller proportion had returned due to the ending of a relationship (5%) or because housing costs are too high (4.6%). Of the 17% of reasons f a l l i n g into a non-economic category, 9.2% indicated they returned for social-psychological factors such as companionship, the comforts of home, or not being ready to l i v e on t h e i r own; 4.2% returned because they needed help, and 3.7% stated a health problem such as i l l n e s s or d i s a b i l i t y . Ultimately the extant l i t e r a t u r e o f f e r s a d e s c r i p t i v e l i s t of the reasons for adult children returning home as i f t h i s adequately explains the complete picture of why adult c h i l d r e n are returning home. Moreover, the l i t e r a t u r e (with the notable exception of Gee et a l . , 1995) generally gives the overly s i m p l i s t i c impression that adult children are moving 166 home out of economic need. The suggestion i s that renesting i s a d i r e c t r e s u l t of expensive housing and diminished job opportunities i n a competitive economic climate. This study's substantive theory refines t h i s perspective by a l t e r n a t i v e l y explaining that returning home i s about "regrouping"--the s t r a t e g i c u t i l i z a t i o n of the parental home-base and resources to get ahead f i n a n c i a l l y , occupationally, and emotionally i n one's l i f e . This study's theory further illuminates women's s o c i a l , emotional, and psychological reasons for returning home by personalizing t h e i r regrouping process and givi n g voice to t h e i r concerns about themselves, t h e i r futures, and t h e i r r elationships with t h e i r parents and others. Although the majority of women indicate that "finances" are an important reason for returning to the parental home, when pressed to go deeper women indicate private and psychological goals to resolve parent-child issues and renew r e l a t i o n s with parents as an adult, to secure an id e a l i z e d occupational i d e n t i t y , and to become a stronger i n d i v i d u a l both intrapersonally and interpersonally. This study's theory suggests that adult children's stated reasons ( i . e . , d i s a b i l i t y / w e l f a r e , r e l a t i o n s h i p breakup, going to school, post-travel/work abroad, saving money for t u i t i o n , t r a v e l , condo; anti c i p a t i n g career change) for returning home are j u s t the t i p of the iceberg and gloss over the more dynamic process and experience of coresiding at the parental home. The theory that regrouping i s the core s o c i a l and 167 psychological process that adult children are engaging i n while coresiding o f f e r s a more complete and meaningful explanation and understanding of the renesting phenomenon, at lea s t from daughters' perspectives. The t h e o r e t i c a l model, with regrouping as the core s o c i a l and psychological process, also provides coherence by l i n k i n g together seemingly disparate reasons for returning home. This t h e o r e t i c a l model speaks to the active, dynamic, and v o l i t i o n a l actions that women engage i n to improve t h e i r l i v e s . Regrouping at the Parental Home and Life-Span Development According to the li f e - s p a n development perspective, leaving the parental home i s associated with the s i g n i f i c a n t l i f e tasks of adult children d i f f e r e n t i a t i n g from t h e i r f a milies of o r i g i n , developing intimate peer re l a t i o n s h i p s , and e s t a b l i s h i n g themselves with regard to work and f i n a n c i a l independence (Aylmer, 1989; Carter & McGoldrick, 1989). It has been implied that returning to the parental home places these important developmental tasks i n p e r i l (Johnson & Wilkinson, 1995). There seems to be a ubiquitous and unquestioned understanding within Western so c i e t i e s that adult c h i l d r e n need to have physical distance from one's parents, by l i v i n g independently, to optimally achieve these tasks. Generally, returning to the parental home i s also considered discordant with normative expectations i n the t r a n s i t i o n to adulthood ( i . e . , Elder, 1985; Hagestad, 1990). Parents and adult children maintain normative time tables 168 about acceptable timing and sequence of s i g n i f i c a n t l i f e events, such as leaving and returning home (Veevers, Gee, & Wister, 1996). The f a i l u r e to maintain an independent l i v i n g arrangement outside the parental home may v i o l a t e c u l t u r a l norms and preferences held by parents and adult c h i l d r e n (Ward & Spitze, 1992). It i s suggested that the return home of adult c h i l d r e n i s prolonging dependence on par e n t s — l e n d i n g to the notions of such adult children being "late bloomers" (Lipsky & Abrams, 1994) or a "generation on hold" (Cote & Allahar, 1994). Therefore, the li f e - s p a n development perspective suggests that i t i s considered maladaptive to v i o l a t e normative expectations and timetables--creating d i f f i c u l t i e s for t r a n s i t i o n s i n adulthood and family r e l a t i o n s . What relevance does t h i s study's findings have to the l i f e - s p a n development perspective? F i r s t , despite the tremendous concerns of the lif e s p a n developmental perspective about returning to the parental home i n adulthood as being negative, a notion r e f l e c t e d i n mainstream s o c i o c u l t u r a l s c r i p t s , women s t i l l pursued the non-normative action of returning to the parental home. They returned to the parental home, knowingly r i s k i n g others' s o c i a l judgement and possibly creating tension within parent-child r e l a t i o n s . It seems that the r i s k of v i o l a t i n g s o c i a l norms was outweighed by the perceived advantages of regrouping at home i n order to get ahead. Daughters convey a pragmatic stance; you do what you have to i n order to get ahead i n l i f e . S a c r i f i c i n g one's 169 independence, privacy, and s o c i a l l i f e temporarily i s considered d i f f i c u l t but necessary i n order to ensure one's future q u a l i t y of l i f e . Second, the theory of women's regrouping at the parental home suggests that the physical distance associated with independent l i v i n g i s not a necessary condition for a t t a i n i n g the l i f e - s p a n development tasks of adulthood. To f a c i l i t a t e regrouping e f f o r t s , women replaced physical distance with psychological distance while coresiding with parents. Women who coreside with t h e i r parents seemed intent on regulating the amount of closeness and distance within t h e i r f a m i l i e s . In family systems theory, " d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n " refers to the patterns of distance regulation within a family, as well as the family's tolerance for both i n d i v i d u a l i t y and intimacy (Anderson & S a b a t e l l i , 1990; Bowen, 1978). It seemed that the majority of the women i n the sample sought out higher l e v e l s of d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n within the family-- meaning a reduced need for family members to continually seek love, approval, or a f f e c t i o n from one another, and to blame others for not f u l f i l l i n g these needs. It has been asserted that a higher l e v e l of d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n within the family enables one to engage i n adaptive, age-appropriate, goal-directed tasks (Bowen, 1978). Relevant to t h i s , women's occupational, educational, emotional, and r e l a t i o n a l regrouping was f a c i l i t a t e d by the action strategy of creating "personal space" for oneself. 170 Personal space affords oneself the a b i l i t y to be oneself and to pursue valued a c t i v i t i e s without d i s t r a c t i o n or inte r r u p t i o n . The women created personal space by es t a b l i s h i n g personal t e r r i t o r y ( i . e . , bedroom), personal boundaries ( i . e . , l i m i t - s e t t i n g on parental behaviours l i k e advice-giving), and s t r i v i n g to es t a b l i s h personal time alone ( i . e . , sidestepping parents' schedules) and away from the parental home. They did so i n order to a t t a i n independence and privacy, to protect oneself ( i . e . , minimizing parent-child tension), and to follow one's own a c t i v i t i e s ( i . e . , education, career, s o c i a l ) and l i f e s t y l e ( i . e . , friendships and dating), without observation or intervention. Interestingly, women's use of s o c i a l space within the parental home seems reminiscent of Berardo's (1998) writings on privacy within the family. It i s suggested that family members attempt to esta b l i s h "zones of safety" to demarcate t h e i r i n t e r i o r and exterior spaces. Kantor and Lehr (1975) note that "the purpose of these safety zones i s usually the protection of property, privacy, and the rela t i o n s h i p s among family members, rather than guarding of physical safety" (p. 42). This was echoed by the women i n the study, although i n a few extreme cases, "psychological distancing" gone unchecked can invoke resentment i n parents and other family members. Third, developmentally, i t seemed rather s t r i k i n g that some women would want to return to the parental home to individuate with t h e i r parents. Psychoanalytic 171 conceptualizations view individuation primarily as an intrapsychic process i n which one comes to see oneself as separate and d i s t i n c t r e l a t i v e to others within one's r e l a t i o n a l context (Anderson & S a b a t e l l i , 1990). Individuation i s a l i f e l o n g process through which an i n d i v i d u a l builds knowledge about the s e l f i n r e l a t i o n to others. Anderson and S a b a t e l l i (1990) observe that: Individuation involves continuous, ongoing demands to regulate the tension between personal autonomy ( s e l f as individual) and connectedness to s i g n i f i c a n t others ( s e l f as related to other), which must be continually negotiated and renegotiated. I t begins with the infant's f i r s t recognition of separateness from mother, continues through the adolescent's i n i t i a l d e f i n i t i o n of i d e n t i t y i n r e l a t i o n to parents (and peers), and through every major and minor adult experience requiring a reassessment of s e l f i n r e l a t i o n to a s i g n i f i c a n t other (pp. 33-34). Erikson (1959) suggests that the process of i n d i v i d u a t i o n i s accompanied by the resolution of i d e n t i t y tasks or c r i s e s ( i . e . , ego i d e n t i t y versus role confusion). Between the ages of 16 and 20 or so a person struggles to define the " r e a l me". The signs of successful resolution of the i d e n t i t y c r i s i s include acceptance of oneself and one's actions, whereas incomplete resolution may r e s u l t i n feelings of confusion 172 about oneself and about what wants, values, and l i k e s i n r e l a t i o n to others (parents and peers). In returning to the parental home to resolve issues with t h e i r parents, several women suggested that they could become stronger--meaning that they could be more assertive and firm i n t h e i r own values, needs, and l i f e s t y l e s without needing parental approval. In l i n e with Erikson's (1959) work, one may speculate that the women who had returned to the parental home to do t h i s work had not adequately resolved the task of defining who they were p r i o r to home-leaving. He would assert that they need to return home to resolve t h e i r i d e n t i t y before they can move forward to develop intimate r e l a t i o n s h i p s . A l t e r n a t i v e l y , s e l f - i n - r e l a t i o n models that characterize women's individuation process as constantly being negotiated and renegotiated i n r e l a t i o n to others ( e s p e c i a l l y mothers) suggests that returning home to resolve the in d i v i d u a t i o n process through connection and dialogue makes sense (Enns, 1991). The female challenge i s becoming d i f f e r e n t while maintaining connections with others. Moreover, i t also may be the case that these women are interested i n renegotiating the parent-child relationship i n adulthood, such that the recognition of oneself as an adult and not j u s t a c h i l d to a parent i s validated. This i s considered an age-appropriate developmental progression that i s signalled by a movement from asymmetrical, dependent relationships with parents towards or more symmetrical, interdependent, and mutual re l a t i o n s h i p s 173 with parents during adulthood (Anderson & S a b a t e l l i , 1990). Unfortunately, conditions of parental overinvolvement ( i . e . , intrusiveness) or parental i n v a l i d a t i o n ( i . e . , r e j e c t i o n , demands for conformity at the expense of i n d i v i d u a l i t y ) hindered some daughters' e f f o r t s i n t h i s regard. Fourth, although some pri o r research has demonstrated that returning adult children are generally s a t i s f i e d with coresiding (Ward & Spitze, 1996), other research has also indicated that coresiding adult children experience more negative aspects of parent-child relations i n terms of mutual respect, decision-making autonomy, perceived a f f e c t i o n and support, acceptance of parents as role models, a b i l i t y to resolve c o n f l i c t s , and fe e l i n g appreciated and understood (Flanagan et a l . , 1993). White and Rogers (1997) research showed that coresident adult children report s i g n i f i c a n t l y lower a f f e c t i v e relationships with t h e i r parents. It was noted that l e s s respect, trust, and fairness was experienced i n r e l a t i o n to coresident mothers. In a si m i l a r vein, Umberson's (1992) research on the impact of coresiding on adult children's r e l a t i o n s and well-being has demonstrated that re l a t i o n s h i p s with mothers are more strongly associated with adult children's well-being ( i . e . , perceptions of support, c r i t i c i s m , demands) than with fathers. The coresident women i n t h i s study also indicated that r e l a t i o n s with t h e i r parents, frequently t h e i r mothers, were s a l i e n t to t h e i r well-being. The value of t h i s theory i s i n 174 demonstrating how such parent-child r e l a t i o n s mediate women's regrouping process. Negative parent-child r e l a t i o n s contribute to diminished well-being ( i . e . , f e e l i n g weaker, les s competent, doubting s e l f , becoming negative), which i n turn hinders the daughter's capacity to e f f e c t i v e l y advance towards the attainment of personal goals. It was as i f negative parent-child r e l a t i o n s have a dampening e f f e c t on regrouping. Parent-child r e l a t i o n a l conditions associated with heightened d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with coresiding included: parental i n t r u s i o n on personal boundaries ( i . e . , u n s o l i c i t e d advice, c r i t i c i s m ) , being treated l i k e a c h i l d by parents ( i . e . , g iving d i r e c t i o n on choices, l i f e s t y l e ) , the perception of a lack of support or c r i t i c i s m of one's goals and plans, the existence of parents' unresolved problems ( i . e . , alcoholism, abuse, depression, unhappy marriage) such that parents were perceived as poor models and sources of support, and a negative home environment. Such negative r e l a t i o n a l conditions had to be dealt with ( i . e . , by avoiding parents, negotiating boundaries with parents, arguing with parents, receiving counselling), thereby taking time and mental energy away from p o s i t i v e regrouping goals, which could increase the l i k e l i h o o d of an unexpectedly prolonged stay at home. Ultimately, t h i s could r e s u l t i n one fee l i n g stuck and not moving forward. Although parent-child relations affected the regrouping process, generally the daughters did not exhibit a blaming at t i t u d e toward t h e i r mothers (Caplan, 1989) or fathers. 175 In addition to negative family r e l a t i o n a l conditions, i n d i v i d u a l factors ( i . e . , b e l i e f s about s e l f as a loser, being older), a diminished s o c i a l support network, and a subscription to t r a d i t i o n a l s o c i o c u l t u r a l s c r i p t s could contribute to the experience of f a l t e r i n g i n getting started, gaining momentum, or moving forward with the attainment of personal goals. Moving beyond extant research findings, the value of t h i s study's t h e o r e t i c a l model l i e s i n i t s a b i l i t y to explicate the re l a t i o n s h i p between parent-child relations, women's well- being, and regrouping outcomes. Managing Transitions i n Adulthood Adulthood i s increasingly recognized as a period of time characterized by s i g n i f i c a n t change and development (Krupp, 1987). In fact, i t has been suggested that we l i v e i n a "semipermanent condition of t r a n s i t i o n a l i t y " (Bridges, 1980, p. 4). In her seminal contribution to the l i t e r a t u r e , Nancy Schlossberg (1984) defined a t r a n s i t i o n as "an event or nonevent that r e s u l t s i n changes i n relationships, routines, assumptions, and/or roles within the settings of s e l f , work, health, and/or economics." Bridges (1980) viewed t r a n s i t i o n as a "natural process of disorientation and reorientation that marks the turning points of the path of growth" or as "key times i n the natural process of self-renewal" (p. 5). Cowan (1991) describes t r a n s i t i o n s as "long term processes that r e s u l t i n q u a l i t a t i v e reorganization of both inner l i f e and 176 external behaviour" (p. 5). How individuals manage t r a n s i t i o n s i s of great i n t e r e s t to counselling psychology because t r a n s i t i o n s often culminate i n changes i n one's ideas about s e l f and the world, often requiring a modification i n one's assumptions and actions that may culminate i n growth or det e r i o r a t i o n (Schlossberg, 1981). Relevant to t h i s , the theory illuminates how returning to the parental home i s characterized by t r a n s i t i o n on two l e v e l s : (a) the p r e c i p i t a t i n g events leading women to return to the parental home, and (b) returning to the parental home i t s e l f . F i r s t , women's returns to the parental home often were pre c i p i t a t e d by l i f e events such as relat i o n s h i p breakup, unemployment, onset of health problems, post-travel/working abroad, going to college or university, and a n t i c i p a t i n g making s i g n i f i c a n t career choices or changes i n one's l i f e . Such meaningful life-events or life-changes often s i g n a l l e d a c r u c i a l time of t r a n s i t i o n and re-examination i n women's l i v e s . This theory explains how some women manage such t r a n s i t i o n s within the context of t h e i r l i v e s . Regrouping at the parental home i s a strategy for dealing with anticipated and unanticipated changes i n one's l i f e . In response to such events one often needs to regroup--to permit oneself some down-time to recuperate and to reenergize before one can continue onward and determine what to do next. Schlossberg (1981) observes that s o c i a l support i s es s e n t i a l to successful adaptation, and the female adult 177 c h i l d r e n who return to th e i r parents' homes are s t r a t e g i c a l l y mobilizing the resources, assistance, and caring t h e i r parents o f f e r i n order to weather l i f e ' s changes, and to enhance t h e i r well-being and qual i t y of l i f e . The parental home provides a secure base from which one can recuperate, reenergize, contemplate, and pursue one's l i f e p l a n s during times of v u l n e r a b i l i t y , i n s t a b i l i t y , or uncertainty. However, the study participants also indicated that the type of s o c i a l support they received and from whom, could help or hinder t h e i r regrouping process. Relevant to t h i s , the l i t e r a t u r e suggests that s o c i a l support i s a multifaceted concept. For instance, House (1981) proposed a four-component model that i s frequently c i t e d i n the l i t e r a t u r e . These components are instrumental support (aid, money, labour, time, help i n modifying the environment), informational support (advice, suggestion, di r e c t i v e s , information), appraisal support (affirmation, feedback, s o c i a l comparison), and emotional support (esteem, trust, concern, l i s t e n i n g ) . The women i n t h i s study generally preferred to receive emotional and appraisal support from t h e i r friends, and instrumental support from t h e i r parents (e.g., money and other tangible resources). Indeed, they often valued t h e i r connections with friends over t h e i r parents when i t came to the important business of contemplating one's future plans, brainstorming, having a "sounding board," researching, networking, receiving advice, processing one's emotions, and s o c i a l i z i n g . They only 178 considered informational or appraisal support from parents to be h e l p f u l when and i f they requested i t . U n s o l i c i t e d appraisal or informational support from parents was perceived as i n t r u s i v e , condescending, judgmental, and undermining to one's feelings of competence. This dynamic often culminated i n the perception of being treated l i k e a c h i l d , which was highly resented by the women i n the sample. Ultimately, Schlossberg (1981) suggests that the ease of adaptation to a t r a n s i t i o n w i l l depend on one's perceived and/or actual balance of resources to d e f i c i t s i n terms of the t r a n s i t i o n i t s e l f , the pre-post environment, and the in d i v i d u a l ' s sense of competency, well-being, and health. This project's theory echoes her assertions. For instance, "advancing" within the regrouping process was eased by not having endured a s i g n i f i c a n t loss or c r i s i s , p o s i t i v e parent- c h i l d r e l a t i o n s , access to parental resources, l i v i n g environments endowed with s u f f i c i e n t space and privacy, maintenance or expansion of one's s o c i a l support network, and perceptions of oneself as capable and planful rather than a being in d e c i s i v e or a loser. Second, the return home i n adulthood also may be considered a s i g n i f i c a n t and non-normative t r a n s i t i o n i n these women's l i v e s as well. Unlike l i f e t r a n s i t i o n s that present i n d i v i d u a l s with r e l a t i v e l y clear normative demands, such as the tasks accompanying home-leaving to be independent and to carve a career, returning home i s considered more nebulous. 179 The unexpected, unwanted, off-time,, or unusual nature of returning home i n adulthood implies that i t i s a t r a n s i t i o n with no markers that define what i s to be done, how to manage, and what to expect. The present theory f i l l s t h i s gap by suggesting that regrouping may e n t a i l a predictable process and t r a j e c t o r y that returnees engage i n when they renest. Regrouping i s marked by s p e c i f i c l i f e - s p a n objectives to become f i n a n c i a l l y secure, to es t a b l i s h a career niche, and to individuate with one's parents. I t i s a time-limited phenomenon, ranging from several months to years, dependent on the nature of returnees' regrouping goals. One can expect that one's a b i l i t y to regroup with ease or with d i f f i c u l t y may be influenced by the nature of one's goals, the degree of support from friends and family, the degree to which one is o l a t e s oneself, the q u a l i t y of one's immediate environment, the a v a i l a b i l i t y of personal and parental resources, and the extent to which one views returning home as a f a i l u r e as opposed to an opportunity. S t r i v i n g f o r a Better L i f e and Future Regrouping goals and success. The women i n t h i s study i n t e n t i o n a l l y sought to shape better q u a l i t y futures and enhance themselves by becoming f i n a n c i a l l y , emotionally, and occupationally stronger from the parental home-base. They were committed to improving or changing t h e i r l i v e s i n meaningful ways. They contemplated the question of what they wanted i n l i f e , what would constitute a meaningful l i f e , and what would 180 make them happier intrapersonally and interpersonally. The culmination of t h e i r contemplation was the establishment of meaningful goals that were ac t i v e l y pursued from the parental home-base. Often the goals for which they a c t i v e l y s t r i v e d were r e a l i z e d and they could venture out into the world on t h e i r own again, as they had i d e a l l y envisioned. With regard to the women's career development goals i n pa r t i c u l a r , I was struck by t h e i r determination to f i n d a career niche which would be defined by t h e i r f e e l i n g s of passion for i t . For these women, security became a les s important factor r e l a t i v e to passion aft e r having worked uninspiring and boring 9-to-5 jobs for many years or having witnessed parents doing so. They were intent on exploring al t e r n a t i v e s , connecting with others i n potential f i e l d s of in t e r e s t ( v i a networking, information interviewing, job shadowing, discussions with friends and sometimes with parents), and eventually committing to a new career ( i . e . , becoming a writer was of interest to several daughters who wished to leave occupations i n postal, s e c r e t a r i a l , and banking occupations; a few other daughters were intent of pursuing careers i n human resources, academia, nursing, business, and international development). Moreover, they persisted i n determining that t h e i r career choices were the ri g h t course of action and t h e i r persistence to pursue a desired career niche was also manifested i n t h e i r willingness to pursue such actions from the parental home-base. 181 The home-base was not considered personally advantageous to the development of one's personal l i f e (e.g., s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s with female and male friends), however i t was considered highly advantageous educationally and occupationally given the f i n a n c i a l savings and the a b i l i t y to focus more exclusively i n pursuing one's goals. I t seemed that these women, i n seeking successful career development, are reminiscent of Richie, Fassinger, Prosser, Linn, Johnson, and Robinson's (1997) grounded theory study on the career development process of highly achieving African American-Black and White women. Their t h e o r e t i c a l model suggested that passion, persistence, and connection were c r i t i c a l to the career development of highly successful women. Their sample of 18 women were r e l a t i o n a l l y oriented, persistent i n the face of obstacles ( i . e . , sexism, racism), and passionate about t h e i r work. Regrouping at the parental home i s a means of overcoming perceived obstacles ( i . e . , lack of money, support) i n women's career development, laying the foundation for future success i n f u l f i l l i n g career goals. Indeed, some women were so committed to making meaningful changes to improve t h e i r l i v e s and t h e i r futures that they were w i l l i n g to return to parental homes that they considered dysfunctional or unhealthy for them--particularly f a m i l i e s with unresolved interpersonal c o n f l i c t s , abusive dynamics, or health-related conditions such as depression or alcoholism. This finding has some bearing on Aquilano's (1991) assertions 182 about the coresidency selection process. He indicates that adult c h i l d coresidence i s most l i k e l y when home conditions are conducive to pos i t i v e parent-child r e l a t i o n s ( i . e . , parents have p o s i t i v e attitude about return, good parent-child r e l a t i o n s o v e r a l l ) and not problematic r e l a t i o n s ( i . e . , parent remarriage, stepfamily). This theory suggests that the "regrouping imperative" may be a condition that overrides the po s i t i v e s e l e c t i o n bias i n returning to the parental home. Determination to f u l f i l personal goals to improve and change one's l i f e may be considered both pragmatic and paramount. The women's experiences of pursuing l i f e goals from the parental home i n order to get ahead i n l i f e seems relevant to recent t h e o r e t i c a l models of successful development and ageing over the l i f e - s p a n (Baltes & Carstensen, 1996; Heckhausen & Schulz, 1995; Schulz & Heckhausen, 1996). Baltes and Carstensen (1996) maintain a f l e x i b l e d e f i n i t i o n of success, suggesting that successful development implies that i n d i v i d u a l s reach personal goals--whether these goals p a r a l l e l i d e a l or s t a t i s t i c a l norms or are i d i o s y n c r a t i c . The women i n the study seemed to monitor and judge how they were doing, be i t f a l t e r i n g or advancing, i n r e l a t i o n to how close they were to r e a l i z i n g t h e i r personal goals. The women reported that imminent goal attainment and goal ful f i l m e n t was associated with feelings of personal fulfilment, pride, and empowerment. Baltes and Baltes' (1990) formulation of successful human development suggest that the fundamental requirements of 183 developmental regulation across the l i f e s p a n are managing d i v e r s i t y and s e l e c t i v i t y and developing the capacity to compensate for f a i l u r e (e.g., normative developmental f a i l u r e experiences encountered when individuals attempt to enlarge t h e i r competencies, and non-normative or random negative events). Baltes and colleagues, i n t h e i r theory of s e l e c t i v e optimization with compensation have extended t h e i r theory to encompass development from infancy to old age. They have achieved t h i s by emphasizing "how individuals and l i f e environments can manage opportunities for, and l i m i t s on, resources at a l l ages" (Marsiske, Lang, Baltes, & Baltes, 1995). Implicit within t h i s view of developmental regulation i s the idea that individuals who are able to engage and impact t h e i r environments around them for the longest period of time would be judged the most successful. Heckhausen and Schulz (1995) elaborate upon t h i s , observing that the construct of control i s a ce n t r a l theme f o r characterizing successful human development throughout the l i f e s p a n . The underlying assumption of t h i s p o s i t i o n i s that people hope to create behaviour-event contingencies and thus exert primary control over the environment around them throughout the l i f e s p a n . The authors d i s t i n g u i s h between primary and secondary control. Primary control targets the external world and attempts to influence the immediate environment external to the ind i v i d u a l , whereas secondary control targets the s e l f and attempts to achieve changes 184 d i r e c t l y within the i n d i v i d u a l . Both primary and secondary control may involve cognition and action. Optimal development ari s e s by increasing our leve l s of primary and secondary control and increasing s e l e c t i v i t y i n one's l i f e domains throughout adulthood. However, Heckhausen and Schulz (1996, p. 711) do acknowledge an important caveat: Although t h i s d e f i n i t i o n implies an absolute d e f i n i t i o n of s uccess—the more primary control the b e t t e r - - i t i s important to note that at the i n d i v i d u a l l e v e l , the p o t e n t i a l for primary control i s l i m i t e d by the genetic makeup of the ind i v i d u a l and the av a i l a b l e s o c i o c u l t u r a l opportunities. Thus, evaluations of success must be tempered by the b i o l o g i c a l and so c i o c u l t u r a l resources of the i n d i v i d u a l . Regrouping, perhaps, may be reframed within a l i f e - s p a n model of successful development as a process of s e l e c t i v e optimization with compensation (Baltes & Baltes, 1990). Breaking down the multifaceted regrouping process, i t seems that processes of "recuperating and reenergizing" approximate Schulz and Heckhausen's (1996) notions of "compensatory primary co n t r o l " and "compensatory secondary c o n t r o l . " The former r e f e r s to the use of external resources such as "parental assistance" ( i . e . , housing, monetary) when the cap a c i t i e s of an i n d i v i d u a l are i n s u f f i c i e n t to a t t a i n a chosen goal ( i . e . , f i n a n c i a l security, establishing career 185 niche). The l a t t e r serves to buffer the e f f e c t s of f a i l u r e or losses ( i . e . , job loss, relationship breakup). Moreover, regrouping's "contemplation of and pursuit of personal l i f e plans and goals" seems reminiscent of Schulz and Heckhausen's (1996) "se l e c t i v e primary control," which refers to the focused investment of resources such as e f f o r t , time, and s k i l l s required for a chosen goal ( i . e . , pursuing post- secondary t r a i n i n g for desired career niche). Selective secondary control enhances the value of a chosen goal, while devaluing nonchosen alternatives. Reframing women's regrouping at the parental home within t h i s l i f e span theory of successful development creates a new perspective by widening the lens to look at the bigger picture of these women's l i v e s . I t allows one to appreciate the pot e n t i a l of a wider meaning for the regrouping process with regard to attain i n g goals and primary control within the l i v e s of the women i n t h i s study. This study provides a s l i c e of these women's l i v e s , and i t i s speculated that t h e i r action of regrouping at the parental home during the developmentally important time of early adulthood may have l a s t i n g implications for goal attainment and future successes as t h e i r l i v e s unfold. Regrouping and change. Regrouping at the parental home may be considered a powerful change strategy for the women i n t h i s study. Relevant to the issue of change i s the movement i n counselling theory to understand the fundamental p r i n c i p l e s 186 and processes of change (Lyddon & Alford, 1993; Mahoney, 1991; Prochaska & DiClemente, 1982). Prochaska and h i s colleagues' research program has attempted to i d e n t i f y how i n d i v i d u a l s change both as a r e s u l t of t h e i r own e f f o r t s and as a response to counselling and psychotherapy (McConnaughy, Prochaska, & V e l i c e r , 1983; Prochaska & DiClemente, 1982, 1986). Their findings suggest that individuals employ a v a r i e t y of strategies of change that can be located r e l i a b l y at d i f f e r i n g stages of the change process. In t h e i r conceptualization, these stages are not assumed to be discrete nor i s movement necessarily u n i d i r e c t i o n a l and successive. Prochaska and DiClemente (1986) i d e n t i f i e d four basic stages of change: (a) precontemplation (individuals are either unaware of a problem of have no desire to change), (b) contemplation ( i n d i v i d u a l s are aware of a problem and begin to think about making a commitment to change), (c) action (individuals a c t i v e l y have begun to a l t e r t h e i r behaviour and t h e i r environment), and (d) maintenance (indivi d u a l s have made s i g n i f i c a n t progress toward the desired change and are working toward continuing gains and at preventing relapse). Prochaska and DiClemente's (1982, 1986) stages of change model suggests that change i s quite dynamic, with i n d i v i d u a l s regressing at times as well as progressing at other times. Relevant to t h i s , the regrouping process, with i t s o s c i l l a t i n g pattern between " f a l t e r i n g " and "advancing," also demonstrates that change can be nonlinear and c y c l i c a l . There also i s a 187 s t r i k i n g s i m i l a r i t y i n the elements of the two models. Like Prochaska and DiClemente's (1986) model, regrouping involves contemplation, planning, i n i t i a t i n g action, a l t e r i n g one's behaviour and environment and they both involve working towards a desired change or goal. As i t was observed by Prochaska and DiClemente (1986), i t seems that the importance of contemplation as s i g n i f i c a n t work i n the regrouping process should be emphasized so that i n d i v i d u a l s do not become discouraged because they are not yet "doing" things to f u l f i l t h e i r goals. Perhaps extended times of contemplation ( i . e . , f i g u r i n g things out, introspection, planning) should be reframed as a necessary and q u a l i t y step preceding and intertwined with action. As Cochran and Laub (1994) suggest: While i t i s generally accurate that agents r e l y upon action to get things done, more precisely, they r e l y upon the q u a l i t y of action. Planning i n i t s e l f does not forward the end, but good planning does. Deciding i n i t s e l f does not forward success, but a well-deliberated decision does. Means i n themselves do not forward a happy outcome, but adequate, reasonable means do (p. 169). However, what i s missing from Prochaska and DiClemente's (1982, 1986) stage model of change, when compared to the model of the regrouping process, i s an appreciation of how the regrouping process i s influenced by contextual conditions such 188 as one's background, f a m i l i a l relations, living-environment, friendships, and society's so c i o c u l t u r a l s c r i p t s . This theory explicates how regrouping i s not a l i n e a r process, but one that o s c i l l a t e s between f a l t e r i n g and advancing towards one's goals, as a r e s u l t of contextual factors, s i g n i f i c a n t events i n one's l i f e , s i g n i f i c a n t actions and interactions with others. Possible selves. Women's regrouping e f f o r t s are intended to shape a stronger s e l f ( i . e . , who could be assertive, independent and not crave other's approval) and to shape an i d e a l future occupational s e l f ( i . e . , who has success, passion, i n t e r e s t , and meaningful work). It was s t r i k i n g how preoccupied and invested women were with t h e i r futures. Their current e f f o r t s ( i . e . , to save money, to go to school, to change occupations, to resolve issues with parents) were intended to assure a quality l i f e and to a t t a i n a stronger p r o b a b i l i t y that one's future s e l f would be competent, secure, and content. It seemed that when daughters were more focused on t h e i r p o t e n t i a l i d e a l i z e d s e l f ( i . e . , as a graduate, a nurse, a writer, a human resources manager, and so on) they f e l t more secure, confident, and assured of t h e i r imminent success i n the near future--ultimately enabling them to be f i n a n c i a l l y and emotionally independent of t h e i r parents. In contrast, dwelling on perceptions of one's s e l f as being vulnerable, being f i n a n c i a l l y dependent, being a f a i l u r e or a loser, "being a b i r d i n a cage," or being stuck at home 189 were experienced as depressing images that reminded one about one's not moving forward i n one's current s i t u a t i o n - - f a r removed from one's id e a l i z e d destination. The perception of one's s e l f as being "on-hold" or "stuck" represented daughter's fears that they would not materialize t h e i r hoped- for plans and would never culminate i n them being f u l l y independent of t h e i r parents. I t seems that when daughters are f a l t e r i n g i n t h e i r regrouping e f f o r t s to r e a l i z e optimal l i v e s and selves that negative perceptions of s e l f are triggered, anxiety i s heightened, and self-esteem and s e l f - e f f i c a c y are diminished. Women's future-oriented regrouping goals seem relevant to Markus and Nurius' (1986) work on "possible selves." Possible selves are the future-oriented components of the self-system involved i n goal-setting and motivation. The construction of possible selves involves imaginative capacity and s e l f - r e f l e c t i o n on the part of the ind i v i d u a l to create a set of hoped-for, expected, and feared future selves. A hoped-for s e l f i s an aspired s e l f that one desires to become, but which may or may not be r e a l i s t i c . An expected possible s e l f , however, i s a s e l f that one believes one can r e a l i s t i c a l l y become. When a hoped-for s e l f i s viewed as attainable, s p e c i f i c plans and action strategies become attached to that s e l f and the hoped-for s e l f evolves into an expected s e l f (Markus, Cross, & Wurf, 1990). In contrast, when a hoped-for s e l f i s seen as unachievable, the plans and motivational 190 controls needed to at t a i n i t do not develop. A feared s e l f i s a possible s e l f that one does not want to become, yet fears becoming. The feared s e l f plays an important part i n the s e l f - concept by acting as a motivator so that concrete actions are taken to avoid that future possible s e l f . Findings i n t h i s study also corroborate that when women are advancing i n t h e i r regrouping process, that task-relevant possible selves are sa l i e n t and that relevant negative or feared selves w i l l be suppressed so that they do not i n t e r f e r e with moving forward (Markus et a l . , 1990). Moreover, daughters need to be invested, even unwavering i n t h e i r envisioning p o s i t i v e , hoped-for selves because t h e i r parents or other family members can sometimes hold negative messages about t h e i r feared selves over them (by suggesting they are u n r e a l i s t i c , naive, unworthy). The Enduring Parent-Child Connection Daughters considered t h e i r parents to be invaluable sources of assistance i n t h e i r l i v e s regardless of whether or not they characterized t h e i r relationship as "close." Many were g r a t e f u l to t h e i r parents for the opportunity to improve t h e i r l i v e s , and some believed they would have been d e s t i t u t e without the assistance of th e i r parents. Although the daughters were highly invested i n becoming independent of t h e i r parents, they ultimately recognized and highly valued t h e i r connection with t h e i r parents. The enduring connection with parents, i n good times and bad, represents a sense of 191 belonging and value--that one i s not completely alone i n the world. Help Exchange The s o c i a l exchange perspective suggests that equitable exchanges between coresiding parents and adult c h i l d r e n create more p o s i t i v e family r e l a t i o n s . Yet, the daughters i n t h i s study e x p l i c i t l y recognized that they had returned to the parental home to help themselves and to receive t h e i r parents' assistance. Beyond a s s i s t i n g parents with household maintenance and providing t h e i r presence or companionship, daughters focused t h e i r time and e f f o r t on pursuing t h e i r own goals. Moreover, i t seemed to be understood that daughters could continue to be the recipi e n t s of parents' caring and resources—an extension of a perceived parental o b l i g a t i o n to a s s i s t i n launching daughters successfully into the world. Parents w i l l i n g l y provided the infrastructure for t h e i r daughters' regrouping. Daughters often recognized that they could not reciprocate i n kind to t h e i r parents. Instead, daughters t r i e d to hold up t h e i r end or reciprocate by accomplishing t h e i r goals (to get an education, s t a r t a new career, save money) as soon as possible i n order to move out on t h e i r own again. Many were anxious to resume t h e i r l i v e s on t h e i r own again, and to not be a burden or i n t r u s i o n to t h e i r parents. Study Limitations This study has several l i m i t a t i o n s i n r e l a t i o n to the 192 sample that w i l l impact the g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y of the theory. The majority of the participants were volunteers who s e l f - selected a f t e r having read advertisements posted on the UBC campus, i n the l o c a l community, and i n the l o c a l media. Although not a l l of the advertisements offered money as an incentive for volunteering i n the study (due to the space constraints i n media advertising), some of the volunteers i n t h i s study may have been influenced by the o f f e r of an honorarium l o t t e r y being drawn at the conclusion of the study. Ultimately, the majority of the participants did not know about the honorarium l o t t e r y u n t i l a f t e r they had already contacted the researcher and agreed to volunteer. Relevant to the issue of s e l f - s e l e c t i o n , early i n the recruitment process, boomerang kids frequently declined to be i n the study when they learned that i n addition to i n d i v i d u a l and private interviews, i t entailed a shared parent-adult c h i l d interview. The participants who did not wish to engage i n shared parent-adult c h i l d interviews c i t e d the following reasons: wishing to preserve t h e i r privacy and independence, not wanting to be misunderstood by parents, not wanting to hurt or anger parents, avoiding potential c o n f l i c t , not wishing to jeopardize the f i n a n c i a l and housing assistance they were receiving from parents, and inconvenience. It i s unknown how many people actually chose to not be i n the study for these reasons and others. Indeed, Caroline's mother indicated that she personally knew several families with 193 boomerang kids and believed that i t would not be a problem to get them to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the study. When she asked each one of them (through the mothers) i f they would be i n the study, she was surprised when they declined. She wondered why they were so r e t i c e n t to discuss t h e i r s i t u a t i o n . She remarked to me that i t seemed strange, and that she got the d i s t i n c t impression that they would not be comfortable discussing t h e i r s i t u a t i o n . She asked, "What's going on i n these f a m i l i e s that people don't want to talk about i t ? " The subset of four boomerang families that did p a r t i c i p a t e i n the study, i n d i v i d u a l l y and conjointly, are unique i n the sense that they were w i l l i n g to discuss t h e i r experience together with the researcher. These p a r t i c i p a n t s , r e l a t i v e to those who declined conjoint p a r t i c i p a t i o n , did not seem to have excessive needs to avoid c o n f l i c t i n parent-child r e l a t i o n s . They generally indicated that they had nothing to hide from one another and that they welcomed open discussion of t h e i r experience, even i f t h i s was p o t e n t i a l l y s e n s i t i v e or c o n f l i c t u a l . The supplemental information provided by the eight parents who were interviewed strengthened the study findings. They provided t h e i r perspective on t h e i r own and t h e i r daughter's experiences, often supporting and elaborating upon shared coresiding experiences ( i . e , launching children, managing boundary dilemmas) but also very revealing i n what they did not mention or were unaware of i n t h e i r daughter's i n t e r n a l l i v e s ( i . e . , the salience of regrouping, the privacy 194 around regrouping). No men and only women sel f - s e l e c t e d themselves to be i n the study. In being w i l l i n g to explore t h e i r private experience with a stranger, i t seemed that some of these women were interested i n sharing t h e i r experience i n order to ameliorate personal d i s t r e s s they were fe e l i n g , to voice any sources of unhappiness, and to process t h e i r concerns and issues with a perceived professional. They suggested that they hoped t h e i r t r i a l s and t r i b u l a t i o n s may serve to inform and improve others' experiences. I wondered i f the interest i n tal k i n g to a counselling psychology researcher attracted women who needed to t a l k - meaning that some of the women who s e l f - s e l e c t e d were e i t h e r presently experiencing some d i f f i c u l t i e s i n coresiding, or had experienced some d i f f i c u l t i e s and were s t i l l t r y i n g to resolve the experience. Thus, i t seems plausible that women who were having r e l a t i v e l y p o s i t i v e or benign experiences of coresiding with t h e i r parents may have not selected themselves to be i n the study because there was no p a r t i c u l a r need to t a l k to someone about the experience. Perhaps they thought they did not have anything s i g n i f i c a n t to say to a counselling psychology researcher. Another l i m i t a t i o n of the research study concerns the g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y of the theory proposed. More v a r i a t i o n i n subjects and greater range of interview data can provide a wider a p p l i c a b i l i t y of a grounded theory (Chenitz & Swanson, 195 1986). In t h i s study attempts were made to tes t the categories, the l i n k s between categories, and the evolving interpretations by including women presumed to have d i f f e r e n t l i f e experiences. The majority of the participants i n the sample were able-bodied women from predominantly white, middle c l a s s families (as inferred from the data ava i l a b l e to the researcher) who l i v e i n Vancouver. Unfortunately, i t was not possible to obtain more women who came from families with more varied socioeconomic status, single-parent status, or more diverse ethnic backgrounds. The interviews with the F i l i p i n o , East Indian, and Portuguese women i n t h i s study are suggestive of the s i g n i f i c a n t influence that the family e t h n i c i t y has i n shaping the s c r i p t s , expectations, goals, and t y p i c a l i n t e r a c t i o n s of parents and returning adult women. Thus, the concept of "regrouping" may be applicable to any woman who has returned to the parental home to l i v e but the actual experience s p e c i f i c to t h i s concept w i l l be d i f f e r e n t for women who have d i f f e r e n t backgrounds, ethnic, and c u l t u r a l norms. It should also be acknowledged that the sample i s geographically skewed towards the urban, West-coast s e t t i n g . With few exceptions ( i . e . , Montreal, V i c t o r i a , Wales) the women coresided with t h e i r parents i n Vancouver. Several women noted that Vancouver i s a c i t y that i s p a r t i c u l a r l y expensive to l i v e i n . In contrast, c i t i e s l i k e Winnipeg and Edmonton were considered much more affordable. Given t h i s , would the 196 experience of returning to the parental home be d i f f e r e n t i n a more economically viable setting? How would the experience d i f f e r i f the sett i n g was a small town versus a c i t y ? Moreover, Canada i s an enormous country characterized by d i s t i n c t geographical and regional differences. How might the returning home experience be influenced by the l i f e s t y l e p ractices c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of d i s t i n c t geographical regions ( i . e . , West Coast, P r a i r i e s , East-Coast)? The study's sample included women who were current l y coresiding with t h e i r parents and women who had coresided with t h e i r parents but were now l i v i n g independently. For those subjects who were already l i v i n g independently, concerns about retrospective accounts being muddied by the possible e f f e c t s of s e l e c t i v e attention and memory lapses were minimized by only including the women i f they had coresided with parents quite recently, not more than a year ago. These women were able to provide information about the outcomes of regrouping at the parental home, answers to which currently coresiding daughters who are s t i l l i n process could not respond. F i n a l l y , i t would be remiss not to mention that the study's findings can be compromised by the biases of the researcher. Although the interview format was semi-structured and used open-ended questions i t i s possible that not a l l aspects of women's experience of returning to coreside with parents had been included i n the resultant theory. For instance, no e x p l i c i t attempt was made to explore how the 197 women's sexual orientation may have influenced t h e i r coresiding experience. Perhaps i n the absence of such a d i r e c t attempt, some women did not fe e l comfortable enough to express how t h e i r sexual orientation may have affected t h e i r experience. Potential bias i n interpreting the data was redressed by consultation with the grounded theory analytic group that was headed by the di s s e r t a t i o n methodologist. Through the process of j o i n t open coding on segments of transcribed text, ongoing review and discussion of the development of codes, hypotheses, and emerging analytic memos and figures the grounded theory a n a l y t i c group provided essential feedback on whether or not the researcher's interpretations were sound or suspect. Generally, sound interpretations were grounded c l o s e l y i n the data, and did not go far beyond the part i c i p a n t ' s words. Suspect interpretations, which were challenged, often r e f l e c t e d "pet ideas" from the researcher's own background, t r a i n i n g , or experience. Of course, the partic i p a n t s also assisted i n maintaining the i n t e g r i t y of the data and the ongoing interpretations. In addition, the continual refinement of the interview protocol, i n response to tentative themes and patterns that were generated i n the open coding process, creates an i t e r a t i v e process between researcher and respondents. The researcher generates codes, themes, and hunches based on the data and t h i s shapes ongoing interactions with new participants who share t h e i r experiences. 198 P a r t i c i p a n t s ' reactions to the ten t a t i v e l y presented "regrouping" concept were very encouraging. The concept had high face v a l i d i t y that immediately resonated with pa r t i c i p a n t s , and i t was a stimulus to further exploration of th e i r experience. As the theory was being fleshed out during the a n a l y t i c process, participants were asked increasingly refi n e d questions to test ideas and to check whether or not the evolving theory being generated was a v a l i d representation of t h e i r experience. Their reactions, feedback, and elaborations ensured that the theory was an accurate representation of t h e i r experience. Implications for Counselling Practice and Self-Help Johnson and Wilkinson (1995) observe that "although i t seems c l e a r that some families have d i f f i c u l t y adjusting to the re-nesting t r a n s i t i o n because of a return to old dependency and caretaking roles, extant l i t e r a t u r e reveals that about 50% of the families are comfortable with the l i v i n g arrangement" (p. 128). M i t c h e l l and Gee (1996) echo that the majority of families cope well with the parent-adult c h i l d coresidence, with 73% of coresiding parents being very s a t i s f i e d with t h e i r marriages. Therefore, s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t s and counsellors have reserved t h e i r advice, solutions, and interventions f o r those individuals and families that have d i f f i c u l t i e s when adult children coreside. To date, the self-help books written on how to deal with adult chil d r e n returning home target parents and provide them 199 with t i p s on how to empathize, communicate, set expectations, goals, and deadlines for coresidency (Kingsmill & Schlesinger, 1998; Okimoto & Stegall, 1987; Weiner, 1997). Community workshops (e.g., UBC's Continuing Education F a l l 1997: "Boomerang Kids or Revolving Door Parenting") that have sprung up also target parents' learning how to deal with parenting "boomerang kids." There i s an obvious lack of counselling interventions or self-help books designated to a s s i s t those adult c h i l d r e n who may experience d i f f i c u l t i e s when returning to the parental home. This study attempts to close t h i s gap. Richardson (1993) once observed that a central c r i t e r i o n of knowledge i s i t s usefulness to the p r a c t i t i o n e r s who work to improve l i v e s , e s p e c i a l l y pertaining to goals r e l a t e d to both development and well-being. This study's findings does imply some pragmatic suggestions to counselling p r a c t i t i o n e r s and to adult ch i l d r e n who have returned to the parental home. It i s also reassuring to know that several study p a r t i c i p a n t s already mentioned how helpful professional counselling was i n easing t h e i r regrouping and coresiding experiences. The following sections on f a c i l i t a t i n g personal development and f a c i l i t a t i n g family relations are intended to o f f e r some guidelines and potential interventions that counsellors may use to a s s i s t those adult children who have experienced some d i f f i c u l t i e s with returning to the parental home. F a c i l i t a t i n g Personal Development C l a r i f y i n g Personal Goals 200 Returning to coreside at the parental home i s much more tol e r a b l e and productive for an adult c h i l d when one knows what one hopes to accomplish while l i v i n g at home. C l a r i f y i n g the nature of one's goals and expectations may empower a returnee, reducing one's uncertainty about the future and restoring one's sense of s e l f - e f f i c a c y and competence-- p a r t i c u l a r l y i f a set-back or loss precipitated one's return home. Establishing very s p e c i f i c goals to save a c e r t a i n amount of money, to receive a p a r t i c u l a r college degree, to develop one's career niche, or to resolve an issue with one's parent(s) also creates the sense that one has a worthwhile purpose that i s accompanied by an indeterminate but temporary timeframe. Knowing that a return home i s temporary reframes the return as a f i n i t e t r a n s i t i o n with an ending. This i s p a r t i c u l a r l y reassuring i f there are any d i f f i c u l t i e s i n parent-child r e l a t i o n s . Weighing Pros and Cons Weighing the pros and cons of returning home and while remaining at the parental home should be encouraged. Although returning to the parental home may be f i n a n c i a l l y b e n e f i c i a l , and/or permit one to further educational and occupational goals, i t seems that cer t a i n conditions can be emotionally and s p i r i t u a l l y diminishing for women. The following conditions seem to hinder women's regrouping e f f o r t s : unresolved differences between parents, s i b l i n g s , and returning c h i l d r e n ; past and/or present emotional and/or physical abuse; parental 201 alcoholism and parental depression. Maintaining One's Self-Esteem Reframing an adult c h i l d ' s return home as an opportunity to regroup i n order to get ahead or to get one's l i f e on- track, rather than interpreting i t as a set-back, f a i l u r e , or loss can be help f u l to restoring and maintaining a p o s i t i v e evaluation of oneself. Encouraging returnees to focus on "hoped-for selves" ( i . e . , as having a p a r t i c u l a r career i d e n t i t y , as being stronger, and so on), rather than "feared selves" ( i . e . , as on-hold, stuck, f a i l e d ) , w i l l also a s s i s t returnees i n t h e i r attempts to f u l f i l personal goals and f e e l hopeful about the future. Seeking S o c i a l Support The daughters who seemed to be f a l t e r i n g the most were the ones who had become isola t e d at the parental home— allowing t h e i r fears of s o c i a l judgement, and concerns about parental supervision or intrusiveness to diminish t h e i r s o c i a l support. Gibson and Brown (1992) observe the importance of mobilizing s o c i a l support i n combating the e f f e c t s of s t r e s s - q u a l i f y i n g that d i f f e r e n t types of s o c i a l support may be desired from d i f f e r e n t persons. This theory suggests that regrouping i s s i g n i f i c a n t l y f a c i l i t a t e d by the s o c i a l and emotional support of friends. In contrast, parents' support was often l i m i t e d to instrumental support ( i . e . , finances, housing, tangible resources), unless the parents were perceived to be a p a r t i c u l a r l y credible source of support by 202 t h e i r daughters. Shaping One's Environment Schulz and Heckhausen (1996) suggest that optimal development may be f a c i l i t a t e d through the assertion of primary control, meaning the exertion of control over our immediate, external environment. Women experienced higher s a t i s f a c t i o n with l i v i n g at the parental home, and t h e i r well- being was heightened, when they took the i n i t i a t i v e to make a part of t h e i r parent's home t h e i r own. Creating a l i v i n g space that was exclusively one's own ( i . e . , bedroom) permits one to spend time alone, to have privacy, to study, to s o c i a l i z e , and to express oneself through the environment by decorating or using one's own furniture or treasured belongings that had been acquired when while having l i v e d independently of parents. F a c i l i t a t i n g Family Relations Having R e a l i s t i c Expectations of Parents Adult childr e n who have returned home frequently complain that t h e i r parents treat them l i k e children. They also complain that t h e i r parents do not acknowledge how they have grown and changed (while they were l i v i n g on t h e i r own)--to become t h e i r own unique s e l f with sometimes d i f f e r i n g ideas, values, and l i f e s t y l e s . Sometimes adult returnees allow these dynamics to diminish t h e i r sense of competence, energy, and optimism. Counsellors may need to remind adult returnees to have r e a l i s t i c expectations about t h e i r parents' actions and 203 reactions to them. Returnees must be cognizant that older or e l d e r l y parents, who are e s p e c i a l l y invested i n the parenting r o l e for c u l t u r a l or personal reasons, may be p a r t i c u l a r l y unwilling to modify parent-child relations i n a l e s s h i e r a r c h i c a l manner. In anticipating and accepting t h i s i n advance, adult returnees may be able to reduce or at l e a s t minimize the occurrence of power struggles i n attempts to change the status quo with parents. Being Sensitive to Mothers In order to preserve or enhance parent-child r e l a t i o n s while coresiding i t i s suggested that adult daughters may need to be p a r t i c u l a r l y sensitive to t h e i r mothers (Umberson, 1992). Mothers take t h e i r roles i n maintaining family r e l a t i o n s and the family household quite seriously--often experiencing more benefits and more emotional costs as a r e s u l t (Antonucci, 1990). Daughters can expect to spend more time with t h e i r mothers i n shared household a c t i v i t i e s , and many mothers remain t e r r i t o r i a l about the use and maintenance of the l i v i n g environment. For example, Caroline's mother had headed several family meetings to ease the t r a n s i t i o n to coresiding. Mutual expectations, household standards, and l i f e s t y l e issues ( i . e . , privacy, s o c i a l l i f e ) were redressed i n advance. In l i e u of t h i s approach, the majority of mothers and daughters preferred to deal with issues as they arose. Often mothers' complaints seemed picky or t r i v i a l to daughters who saw themselves as involved with much more important tasks 204 i n t h e i r l i v e s . It i s recommended that they may need to a c t i v e l y develop empathy for t h e i r mothers' perspectives i n order to prevent unnecessary c o n f l i c t or misunderstanding. Ultimately the women i n t h i s study suggested that t h e i r ; r e l a t i o n s h i p s with t h e i r mothers could be more intense and "high maintenance," r e l a t i v e to fathers who were experienced as more peripheral, but working things out with mothers was considered important because the relationship was so highly valued. Privacy and Boundaries Johnson and Wilkinson (1995) observe that when adult c h i l d r e n return home, they cannot r e l y on physical distance to a t t a i n t h e i r developmental goals. Close proximity within the parental home means that one must s t r i v e to create a balance between creating psychological space for oneself and seeking out connections with others. Securing optimal psychological space for oneself may be f a c i l i t a t e d by negotiating a c l e a r set of boundaries and expectations with one's parents so that they do not become int r u s i v e . Cross C u l t u r a l Dynamics The experience of returning home to coreside with parents may be influenced by the c u l t u r a l background or e t h n i c i t y of the family of o r i g i n . The white ( i . e . , European) experience varies from the East Indian, F i l i p i n o , or Portuguese experience. Moreover, often returning adult c h i l d r e n have already adopted the values, b e l i e f s , and expectations of t h e i r 205 Canadian cohort, which may be at odds with those of t h e i r p a r e n t s — e s p e c i a l l y i f parents adhere to t r a d i t i o n a l c u l t u r a l norms, expectations, and b e l i e f s about h i e r a r c h i c a l parent- c h i l d r e l a t i o n s , and conservative ideas about premarital intimate r e l a t i o n s . Daughters, under these conditions, may end up accommodating t h e i r parents 1 standards and expectations i n order to maintain smooth rel a t i o n s . This may p o t e n t i a l l y compromise s i g n i f i c a n t aspects of self-development. Moreover, they may f e e l pressured to remain at the parental home longer than they would l i k e to. Learning to manage t h i s cross- c u l t u r a l dynamic may ease daughters' regrouping process. Implications for Social Policy Given the increasing postponement of marriage, prolonged post-secondary school attendance, youth unemployment, and ongoing federal and pr o v i n c i a l cut-backs, Veevers and M i t c h e l l (1998) observe that returning to the parental home w i l l be an increasingly popular strategy for "optimizing t r a n s i t i o n s into adulthood" (p. 106). In l i g h t of current s o c i e t a l and urban conditions, these authors assert that i t may become a "necessity" for many young adults to return home to l i v e with parents i n order to f u l f i l expectations regarding t r a v e l , home ownership, and employment. However, Mi t c h e l l and Gee (1995) also point out that not a l l young adults have the opportunity to coreside with t h e i r parents while attending university or attempting to save money. This creates the d i s t i n c t p o s s i b i l i t y that some young 206 adults may face short-term and long-term disadvantages i n the educational and employment markets, thereby compromising t h e i r future l i v e s . M i t c h e l l and Gee (1995) have asserted that the Canadian government's movement towards p r i v a t i z a t i o n i n the welfare system and p o l i c y inattention to young adults, coupled with an assumption that families w i l l look a f t e r t h e i r own, has planted the seeds of increasing s o c i a l i n equality i n Canadian society. M i t c h e l l and Gee (1995) have recommended that l e g i s l a t i o n and program development must be refined i n order to meet the needs of today's young adults. They suggest short-term and long-term solutions designed to a l l e v i a t e youth poverty and unemployment by recommending that the Canadian government provide work programmes, job counselling, t r a i n i n g , and placement, s u f f i c i e n t minimum wage, job security and benefits, government-sponsored student loans, grants for students to l i v e independently of parents, and affordable housing. Unfortunately, these i d e a l i s t i c p o l i c y recommendations take time to implement and they also may not be f i n a n c i a l l y f e a s i b l e for the Canadian government to comprehensively provide. Moreover, s o c i a l p o l i c y aimed at the economic l e v e l of the boomerang phenomenon do not take into account the myriad of emotional and psychological reactions that accompany returning home i n adulthood. Nor does i t take into account the s o c i a l phenomenon of our increasingly extended l i f e spans, i n which the t r a d i t i o n a l demarcation points for adulthood seem 207 increasingly a r b i t r a r y . Within the ind i v i d u a l and within the family there i s an i n i t i a l sense of confusion, marginalization, and i s o l a t i o n that i s associated with an adult returning home--the expected l i f e s c r i p t has not unfolded as anticipated. Indeed, Sheehy (1995) observes that "We l i v e i n the postmodern world, where anything i s possible and almost nothing i s certain," and she concludes that "there i s no longer a standard l i f e cycle. People are increasingly able to customize t h e i r l i f e cycles" (pp. 14-15). The women and t h e i r parents fared better when they appreciated t h i s , and embraced the notion that today's s o c i o c u l t u r a l s c r i p t s are d i f f e r e n t than parent's sociocultural s c r i p t s concerning acceptable milestones i n adult development. Today's developmental timetable seems to have sh i f t e d by 10 y e a r s - career establishment, marriage and childbearing are a l l delayed for today's adults (Sheehy, 1995). When the women and t h e i r parents began to r e a l i z e that they were not alone i n t h e i r s i t u a t i o n , that many other parents and daughters were experiencing boomeranging and i t s associated f i n a n c i a l and career developmental concerns, they were able to normalize the experience as well. S o c i a l l y , economically, and c u l t u r a l l y our post-modern world i n the new millennium i s rapidly s h i f t i n g and ind i v i d u a l s and families need to be educated and prepared for t h i s r e a l i t y . In the past, individuals and families have had to accommodate and adjust to s o c i e t a l changes, and they must 208 be prepared to do so again. Perhaps young adults should not be i n such a rush to leave the parental home to begin with. Perhaps post-secondary education should be pursued at the parental home, and only aft e r secure employment i s attained should young adults move out to l i v e independently. In conjunction with delayed home-leaving, perhaps there also should be increased attention to developing income tax incentives or deductions for families that continue to care for c h i l d r e n into adulthood. Certainly, i t has been acknowledged that many young adults leave home before they are ready (Gee et a l . , 1995). Premature home-leaving may incur heightened debt on the behalf of young adults--thereby necessitating reliance on parents for f i n a n c i a l assistance and increasing the need to return to the parental home. Recommendations for Future Research Some p o s s i b i l i t i e s for future research based on the theory are as follows. It would be int e r e s t i n g to evaluate the theory with more diverse ethnic/cultural groups of women who have returned to the parental home to l i v e . While t h i s study dealt with a group of predominantly white, middle-class Canadians (of European e t h n i c i t y ) , the experiences of the East Indian, the F i l i p i n o , and the Portuguese women i n the study hinted at the variations i n the regrouping experience due to cu l t u r a l / e t h n i c b e l i e f s and practices. Examining the app l i c a t i o n of t h i s theory to women of more diverse ethnic backgrounds ( i . e . , I t a l i a n , Greek, Portuguese, Chinese, East 209 Indian) would be of p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t since these groups have close kinship norms and c u l t u r a l practices ( i . e . , not leaving home u n t i l marriage, extended households, arranged marriages among t r a d i t i o n a l East Indians) that diverge from the t r a d i t i o n s of white, middle class Canadians. Moreover, the demographic make-up of Vancouver consists of a large number of Chinese and East Indian communities that could be accessed. Being able to speak the native tongue of these populations may be a necessity for the researcher. Investigating the a p p l i c a b i l i t y of the grounded theory for men who return home would be i n t e r e s t i n g . Further research could determine whether or not men d i f f e r from women's experiences of regrouping at the parental home. I am curious i f men's regrouping goals are similar or d i f f e r e n t from women. I anticipate that men would also engage i n regrouping at the educational/occupational l e v e l . However, I am uncertain i f men would pursue the resolution of parent-child issues i n order to individuate and become stronger as some women had described. Moreover, I wonder i f the conditions that hinder versus help men's regrouping process would be the same as women's. Would men experience the same l e v e l of parental intrusiveness that women experienced with t h e i r parents? Do men who have returned home to coreside f e e l l i k e they have to fend o f f parents' well-meaning advice and comments (about career choices, dating choices, l i f e s t y l e choices, and so on) to a s i m i l a r degree? Would men experience the return home as "hard on friendships" 210 as women had, thereby diminishing t h e i r s o c i a l support system? Such v a r i a t i o n i n the theory based on gender remains to be examined. The substantive theory of women's regrouping at the parental home may also be enhanced through t r i a n g u l a t i n g multiple data sources i n future research. Denzin and Lincoln (1994) note that "the combination of multiple methods, empirical materials, perspectives and observers i n a single study i s a strategy that adds rigor, breadth, and depth to any inv e s t i g a t i o n (p. 2). Perhaps interviews with returning adult c h i l d r e n and t h e i r parents could be supplemented with empirical measures on variables that seem relevant to the regrouping process ( i . e . , s e l f - e f f i c a c y , self-esteem). Concluding Remarks Grounded theory assumes that any group shares an unarticulated s o c i a l problem that i s resolved through a social-psychological process (Glaser, 1978). This study's contribution i s the generation of a substantive theory of women's experiences of regrouping at the parental home. Unlike the extant l i t e r a t u r e , i t explains what returning women consider to be t h e i r core issue; namely regrouping i n order to get ahead or to get a fresh s t a r t i n l i f e f i n a n c i a l l y , educationally, occupationally, and personally. By focusing on the experiences of women who have returned to the parental home to l i v e , insights have been attained about women's journey to become stronger successful i n d i v i d u a l s . Staying close to the women's shared experiences revealed how t h e i r experience of f a l t e r i n g or advancing towards the successful r e s o l u t i o n of personal goals was embedded i n a l i f e context i n which parents, friendships, and society play an i n f l u e n t i a l r o l e . 212 References Aldous, J. (1987). New views on the family l i f e of the e l d e r l y and near-elderly. 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Journal of Adolescence, 17, 173-191. 223 Appendix A Sample Advertisements i n Flyers and Media Boomerang Family Research The Counselling Psychology Department i s looking for adults who have returned home to l i v e . They and t h e i r parents are inv i t e d to pa r t i c i p a t e i n a study focusing on the experience, interpersonal r e l a t i o n s and responses to t h i s change i n the family. Involves c o n f i d e n t i a l interviews. For more information, please c a l l Michele at 432-1915. Research Study WHAT: The purpose of t h i s research i s to f i n d out what returning home i n adulthood i s l i k e . WHO: Adults (mid-twenties to f o r t i e s ) who have returned home to l i v e with t h e i r parents, and who have current l y been l i v i n g with them for at least 6 months. WHERE: A c o n f i d e n t i a l interview at UBC. WHY: 3 Chances to WIN $100! Leave a message for MICHELE A. PASELUIKHO with UBC's Counselling Psychology Department at 822-5259 or 269- 9986. Female Volunteers Daughters who have returned home to l i v e with t h e i r parents are needed for a Ph.D. psychology study. An interview at your convenience i s required. Please c a l l Michele at 269-9986. 2 2 4 Appendix B Research Sample's Demographic Characteristics 1* 2* 3* 4* Age 44 30 25 29 Ethnicity British Scottish Brit/Scott Scott/Fr.Can. Education B.A. • B.A. B.Sc. B.A. Occupation Unemployed Student/Health Care Manager Banking Income @ Parental Home Welfare Student Loans $30,000+ $37,500+ Duration @ Parental Home 3 years 2 years 10 months 19 months Duration Since Leaving Home - 6 months 0 Number of Brothers 1 1 0 1 Age of Brother(s) 41 33 20 Number of Sisters 0 0 I 1 Age of Sister(s) - _ 23 27 Number of children 0 2 0 0 Satisfaction Living @ Home - 5 6 4 Total Number of Returns Home 2 2 1 2 Father's Age . 74 59 50 60 Father's Ethnicity British Scottish British Scott/French Father's Education B.Sc. High School B.Com. M.Sc. Father's Occupation Retired Retired Accountant Banker Father's Income N/A. N/A. N/A. $100,000+ Mother's Age 73 52 50 58 Mother's Ethnicity British Scottish Scott/Italian Scottish Mother's Education High School High School B.Ed. M . A . Mother's Occupation Retired Retired Teacher Teacher Mother's Income N/A. N/A. N/A. N/A. *subset of daughters and parents interviewed separately and conjointly N / A : not avaiable 2 2 5 Research Sample's Demographic Characteristics (Continued) 5 6 7 Age 27 24 27 Ethnicity Irish/German Danish Fillipino Education B.A./B.Sc. B.Mus. B.Sc.Nurs. Occupation Occupational Therapist Student Student Income @ Parental Home $40,000+ None N/A Duration @ Parental Home 6 months 1 month 3.5 years Duration Since Leaving Home •1 day _ 2 months Number of Brothers 0 0 1 Age of Brother(s) _ _ older Number of Sisters 1 1 1 Age of Sister(s) 24 22 older Number of children 0 0 0 Satisfaction Living @ Home 5 1-3 4 Total Number of Returns Home 2 . 1 1 Father's Age 59 58 62 Father's Ethnicity German Danish Fillipino Father's Education B.Com High School N / A Father's Occupation Accountant Lumber Bookeeper/Unemployed Father's Income N/A. N/A. N/A. Mother's Age 55 55 57 Mother's Ethnicity Irish Danish Fillipino Mother's Education B.Nurs. B.Ed. B.Nurs. Mother's Occupation P/T Nurse Teacher Nurse Mother's Income N/A. N/A. N/A. N / A : not avaiable 2 2 6 Research Sample's Demographic Characteristics (Continued) 8 9 10 11 Age 27 ~> -i J J 28 30 Ethnicity Scottish East Indian European English/Dutch Education B.A. Ph.D. Cand. Gr. 12 B.A. Occupation Canada Post GT A/Student Student Secretary Income @-Parental Home $32,000 $4-8,000 Savings $30,000 Duration @ Parental Home 2 years 3 years 7 months 3.5 years Duration Since Leaving Home 1 year _ Number of Brothers 0 1 1 0 Age of Brother(s) ' - 26 30 Number of Sisters 1 0 0 1 Age of Sister(s) 25 _ 28 Number of children 0 0 0 0 Satisfaction Living @ Home 2-3 5 5 5 Total Number of Returns Home 2 1 1 1 Father's Age 53 N / A 53 59 Father's Ethnicity Scottish East Indian European Dutch Father's Education N / A Ph.D. High School Ph .D: Father's Occupation Banker Professor Sales Geological Consultant Father's Income N/A. N/A. N/A. N / A . Mother's Age 50 N / A 53 57 Mother's Ethnicity N / A East Indian European English Mother's Education High School Ph.D. G.D.A. High School Mother's Occupation Retail Professor Not employed Journalist Mother's Income • N/A. N/A. N/A. N / A . . N /A: not avaiable 227 Research Sample's Demographic Characteristics (Continued) 12 13 14 15 Age 34 29 25 30 Ethnicity Welsch Portugese German Ukranian Education Diploma M . A . B.Sc. Diploma Occupation Secretary Counsellor Technician Clerk Income Welfare N / A $17,000 $l,50'0/month Duration @ Parental Home 1 year 4 months 1 year; 1 month one month Duration Since Leaving Home 1 year _ 4 months Number of Brothers 2 0 2 1 Age of Brother(s) 35 & 3 1 _ 26 & 17 33 Number of Sisters 0 1 1 2 Age of Sister(s) _ 21 21 2 9 & 3 2 Number of children 0 0 0 0 Satisfaction Living @ Home _ 6 5.5 3 Total Number of Returns Home 4 1 1 3 Father's Age 67 Deceased 65 60 Father's Ethnicity Welsch Portugese • German Ukranian Father's Education B.A. Elementary B.Sc. Engineer Father's Occupation Retired N/A. Retired Retired Father's Income N/A. N/A. $70,000 N / A . Mother's Age 64 58 56 60 Mother's Ethnicity German Portugese German Canadian Mother's Education High School Elementary B.A. High School Mother's Occupation Retired Cleaning Homemaker Homemaker Mother's Income N / A . N/A. N / A . N / A . N /A: not avaiable Appendix C j T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A 228 Department of Counselling Psychology Faculty of Education 2125 Main Mall Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1Z4 Tel: (604) 822-5259 Fax: (604) 822-2328 Research Participant's Consent Form Family-Form I consent to part i c i p a t e i n the research project "Explaining Parent-Child Experience when Adult-Children Return Home to Live". This research i s being conducted by Michele Paseluikho, a doctoral candidate a f f i l i a t e d with the Counselling Psychology Department at U.B.C. I understand that p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h i s study w i l l e n t a i l that Michele v i s i t my home i n order to talk to me about what i t i s l i k e when and adult c h i l d returns home to l i v e ; from both the perspective of the parent(s) and the a d u l t - c h i l d . The timing and length of these v i s i t s w i l l be arranged to s u i t our convenience. I understand that the conversations I have with Michele w i l l be audiotaped and transcribed l a t e r . Michele may also write notes about her observations. I understand that I may be asked to meet with Michele on several occasions. Altogether, approximately 3 to 6 hours of observation and conversation may take place with my family over a period of two to four months. Talking about my family's sit u a t i o n to a "stranger" may be somewhat uncomfortable at times. I have the personal d i s c r e t i o n to share whatever aspects of family l i f e I would l i k e to. I also have the right to not answer any question at any time, without any repercussions for ourselves. Although p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h i s study may involve some loss of privacy, Michele w i l l take precautions to prevent t h i s : ( 1 ) audiotapes and written materials w i l l not be i d e n t i f i e d by our names, but with a number known only to Michele; ( 2 ) tapes, trans c r i p t i o n s , f i e l d notes, and written materials w i l l be kept i n a locked f i l i n g cabinet that only Michele w i l l use; ( 3 ) only small segments of our conversations w i l l be shared with Michele's diss e r t a t i o n committee, and they w i l l not be i d e n t i f i e d d i r e c t l y with my family, and f i n a l l y ( 4 ) . a l l the data w i l l be destroyed upon completion and publication of the project's r e s u l t s . Appendix D T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A 230 Department of Counselling Psychology Faculty of Education 2125 Main Mall Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6T 1Z4 Tel: (604) 822-5259 Fax: (604) 822-2328 Research Participant's Consent Form Individual-Form I consent to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the research study "Explaining Parent-Child Experience when Adult- Children Return Home to Live". This research i s being conducted by Michele A. Paseluikho, M.Sc. She i s a doctoral candidate a f f i l i a t e d with the Counselling Psychology Department at U.B.C. I understand that p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h i s study w i l l e n t a i l a c o n f i d e n t i a l interview with the researcher at U.B.C. i n order to t a l k about what i t i s l i k e when an a d u l t - c h i l d returns home to l i v e with his or her family. I understand that the interview I have with the researcher w i l l be audiotaped l a t e r for data analysis. I understand that the interview with the researcher may be approximately one to two hours long. After the interview, the researcher may follow-up with some telephone c a l l s to c l a r i f y c e r t a i n points or to ask additional questions that may have been overlooked at the interview. At any time, I have the r i g h t to refuse to participate or withdraw from t h i s study. Talking about my personal/family situation to a "stranger" may i n i t i a l l y f e e l awkward. I understand that I have the personal d i s c r e t i o n to share whatever aspects my l i f e that I would l i k e to. I also have the right to not answer any question at any time, without any repercussion to myself. Although p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h i s study may involve some loss of privacy, the researcher w i l l take precautions to prevent t h i s : (1) audiotapes and written materials w i l l not be i d e n t i f i e d by names, but with a number known only to the researcher; (2) tapes, t r a n s c r i p t i o n s , f i e l d notes, and written materials w i l l be kept i n a locked f i l i n g cabinet that only the researcher w i l l use; (3) segments of interviews that may be shared with the researcher's diss e r t a t i o n committee w i l l not be i d e n t i f i e d d i r e c t l y , and f i n a l l y (4) a l l the data w i l l be destroyed upon completion and publication of the project's r e s u l t s . 232 Appendix E GROUNDED THEORY RESEARCH PROJECT DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONNAIRE DATE: PROJECT ID#: Age: Were you born i n Canada: Yes No If NO, when did you immigrate to Canada? Race/Ethnicity: Highest grade i n school, college, or univer s i t y completed: Are you currently working on a post-secondary degree? Yes No If yes, what degree are you now working on: Are you presently employed: F u l l time Part-time No If yes, what i s your present occupation: What i s your approximate personal income: What i s your current status: (Check as many as apply to you) Single Single Parent Married Separated Divorced Amount of time you and your parent(s) have l i v e d together since you have returned home to l i v e : Your reason(s) for returning home to l i v e : Number of times you have returned home: 233 DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONNAIRE (Continued) How s a t i s f i e d are you with your current l i v i n g circumstances: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Very D i s s a t i s f i e d Very S a t i s f i e d Please indicate the ages of any brothers or s i s t e r s : 1. 2. 3. 4. Are there other family members l i v i n g i n the home? Yes No Who else l i v e s at home with you and your parent(s)? Brother(s) Aunt Grandmother Children S i s t e r ( s ) Uncle Grandfather Other 234 DEMOGRAPHIC QUESTIONNAIRE (CONTINUED) DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION ABOUT PARENTS Parents' Marital Status: S t i l l Married Separated Divorced Widowed **Father's Age: Was your father born i n Canada: Yes No If No, when did your father immigrate to Canada? Father's Race/Ethnic Identity: Father's Highest grade i n school, college, or u n i v e r s i t y completed: Is your father presently employed? F u l l time Part-time No Retired If yes, present occupation: What i s father's approximate income? * *Mother's Age: Was your mother born i n Canada: Yes No If No, when did your mother immigrate to Canada? Mother's Race/Ethnic Identity: Mother's Highest grade i n school, college or u n i v e r s i t y completed: Is your mother presently employed: F u l l time Part-time No Retired If yes, what i s present occupation: What i s mother's approximate income: 235 Appendix F I n i t i a l Interview Guide (for the Adult-child) 1. Describe your reasons for returning home, and the circumstances around your returning home to l i v e with your parents. 2. T e l l me what the experience of returning home to l i v e with your parent(s) has been l i k e for you. 3. As an adult, what are the benefits of l i v i n g together? 4. As an adult, what are the problems of l i v i n g together? 5. How do you manage, handle, or deal with l i v i n g at home? 6. How has returning home affected: a) your relationships (with parents, friends, partners) b) how you view yourself or your i d e n t i t y c) how you see your future I n i t i a l Interview Guide (for the Parent(s) 1. T e l l me what the experience of "X" returning home to l i v e has been l i k e for you. 2. As a parent, what are the benefits of l i v i n g together? 3 . As a parent, what are the problems of l i v i n g together? 4. How do you manage, handle, or deal with "X" l i v i n g at home? 5. How has "X's" returning home affected: a) your relationships (with spouse; "X"; family)? b) how you view yourself? c) how you view "X"? d) how you see your future? I n i t i a l Interview Guide (for Parent(s) & Adult-Child) 1. Describe the circumstances around "X" returning home to l i v e . 2. As a family, what are the benefits of l i v i n g together? 3. As a family, what are the problems of l i v i n g together? 4. As a family, how have you managed, handled, or dealt with l i v i n g with one another again at t h i s point i n your l i v e s ? 5. As a family, how has "X's" returning home to l i v e affected: a) your relationships with one another? b) your family overall? c) your l i f e overall? 236 APPENDIX G Revised Interview Guide for Daughters as the Study Progressed To orient me to your background, I'd l i k e you to t e l l me what you have been doing these days i n your l i f e . . . both before moving back home and currently? What are your short-term and long-term goals/plans at t h i s time? How much do parental or s o c i e t a l expectations influence the plans you have made for your l i f e (re: education; work; marriage; having a family)? How does returning home f i t or not f i t with your plans and goals? What are you hoping to achieve i n returning home to l i v e at t h i s time? Describe the circumstances around your returning home to l i v e . How long do you plan on being back home? T e l l me what the o v e r a l l experience of returning home to l i v e with your parent(s) has been l i k e for you. As an adult, what are the benefits of l i v i n g together at home? As an adult, what are the problems or most d i f f i c u l t things about l i v i n g together at home? How do you manage, handle, or deal with l i v i n g at home? How has returning home affected: a) your relationships (with parents; partners; & so on)? b) how you view your " s e l f " or your "identity"? c) your future? Relevant to your sense of s e l f , how has returning home affected you: a) psychologically b) emotionally c) s o c i a l l y d) f i n a n c i a l l y e) s p i r i t u a l l y f) occupationally When do you f e e l the best, and the worst, about yourself? 237 Revised Interview Guide for Daughters as the Study Progressed (Continued) Provide a metaphor/analogy/image that describes: a) yourself before you returned home to l i v e and were on your own b) yourself while you are l i v i n g at home c) your family experience l i v i n g at home d) what returning home i s or means to you ( i n the big picture) In comparing yourself to your friends and peers, do you consider yourself to be f a l l i n g behind, being on-time, or moving ahead with your l i f e plans or "personal timetable" at an acceptable pace? *Other daughters I have interviewed have t o l d me that, for them, returning to l i v e at home i s about "regrouping". (OPTIONAL DESCRIPTION IF PROMPTED) Generally, regrouping can mean one i s taking a time-out i n order to reorganize and contemplate one's s e l f and one's d i r e c t i o n i n l i f e , and i n order to become stronger. Regrouping can also be about refocusing one's time and energy to c e r t a i n goals and plans so that one can move forward i n l i f e . -Can you t e l l me i f t h i s ("regrouping") f i t s for you? -How are you regrouping i n your l i f e / s i t u a t i o n ? -What i s the focus or p r i o r i t y of your regrouping? -What i s regrouping l i k e for you? -What conditions f a c i l i t a t e your regrouping e f f o r t s ? -What conditions hinder/frustrate your regrouping e f f o r t s ? -Do you prefer to regroup on your own, or with the help of others? -Who i s help f u l or unhelpful to you as you regroup? -What w i l l be the (ideal) outcome of your regrouping e f f o r t s ? Figure 1: Theoretical Schematic Of Daughter's Regrouping At The Parental Home

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