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Adult daughters of parental divorce : constructing current relationships with nonresidential fathers Miller, Adena B. K 2007

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A D U L T D A U G H T E R S O F P A R E N T A L D I V O R C E : C O N S T R U C T I N G C U R R E N T R E L A T I O N S H I P S W I T H N O N R E S I D E N T I A L F A T H E R S by Adena B . K . Mi l le r A THESIS S U B M I T T E D I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F M A S T E R O F A R T S in The Faculty of Graduate Studies Family Studies 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 August 2007 © Adena B . K . Mi l l e r ABSTRACT In Canada, divorce is an important individual and societal issue. With 38% of all marriages projected to end in divorce before their 30th wedding anniversary (The Vanier Institute of the Family, 2004) and half of all divorces involving dependent children (Statistics Canada, 2005) it is not surprising that the short and long term repercussions o f experiencing parental divorce is o f concern to researchers, practitioners, and families alike. Previous research has suggested that experiencing divorce can have a wide array of consequences on close relationships (Amato, 2003), one o f which is parent - child relationships. Divorce has the potential to impact parent - child relationships throughout the life course for both children and their parents (Booth & Amato, 1994; Cooney & Uhlenberg, 1990; Lye, Klepinger, Hyde, & Nelson, 1995; Z i l l , Morrison, & Coiro, 1993). Consequentially, the importance o f understanding parent - child relationships within the biographical context of parental divorce, and their entire relational history, is becoming increasingly apparent. The present study examines whether a model of parent - child interactions within the context of the entire relationship outlined by Lol l i s and Kuczynski (1997) is useful in examining and understanding the current adult daughter - nonresidential father relationship. In order to accomplish this, interviews were conducted with 9 women who experienced parental divorce in childhood and who were between the ages of 19-24 at the time of interview. Analysis borrowed from a biographical (Rosenthal, 2004) and grounded theory approach (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss & Corbin, 1994). Results indicate the presence o f themes o f relationship construction, in particular relational damage, repair and maintenance within the daughters' accounts. Therein, the research provides empirical support for the usefulness o f Lol l i s and Kuczynski 's (1997) model. i i TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract i i Table of Contents i i i List of Tables iv List of Figures v Acknowledgements v i Dedication v i i 1 Introduction 1 2 Literature Review 4 2.1 Long-term Impacts of Parental Divorce on Children 4 2.2 Post Separation Parent - Chi ld Relationships 5 2.3 Nonresidential Father - Chi ld Relationships 6 3 Conceptual Framework 10 3.1 A Model o f Parent - Chi ld Interactions in the Context of the Parent - Chi ld Relationship 10 4 Method , 15 4.1 Sample 15 4.2 Procedure 18 5 Analytic Presentation Strategy 21 5.1 Case Descriptions 21 5.1.1 Case 1: Josie 22 5.1.2 Case 2: M o l l y 24 5.1.3 Case 3: Al l i son 26 6 Results 29 6.1 Relational Damage 29 6.2 Relational Repair 37 6.3 Relational Maintenance 40 6.4 Summary 45 7 Conclusions 48 References 54 Appendices 62 Appendix A ....62 Appendix B 63 Appendix C 65 i i i LIST O F T A B L E S Table 4.1 1 Sample Description 17 iv LIST OF FIGURES F i g u r e 3.1 A M o d e l o f Parent - C h i l d Interactions in the Contex t o f Parent - C h i l d Re la t ionsh ips 12 v ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I offer my thanks to the entire faculty o f Family Studies at U B C for providing a rich intellectual environment which has inspired me to continue to pursue further knowledge in this field. A l so thanks to my committee, Dr. Perlman and Dr. White, for all o f their time and support. I owe particular thanks Dr. Al l an for al l o f his guidance, time and insight throughout this entire process. A special thanks also to my family who have supported me both emotionally and financially throughout the years. vi DEDICATION To M y Fami ly vii 1 INTRODUCTION Over the last few decades, the social climate within which family is performed has altered and in turn individual experiences o f family life have changed. One way in which family life has changed is the propensity for marital dissolution. Though in the last decade divorce trends have stabilized, more than ever divorce has become a familiar part o f family life in North America. In Canada, 38% o f al l marriages are projected to end in divorce before their 30 t h wedding anniversary (The Vanier Institute of the Family, 2004). Moreover, with half o f all divorces involving dependent children, experiencing parental divorce is increasingly common. Existing research suggests many possible short and long-term effects of parental divorce. One area in particular that has been shown to be affected by parental divorce is parent - child relationships. However, little previous literature on the short and long-term effects o f parental divorce has examined post separation parent - child relationships from the perspective o f the child. This may be in part due to the intricate nature of this phenomenon. Both marital dissolution and the development of parent - child relationships are complex processes with each divorce and parent - child relationship being unique. Therefore, it is difficult to begin to untangle the web o f possible mediating and moderating variables inherent to each of these processes that may affect the experiences o f each individual child. The purpose of this study is to examine whether a model of understanding parent -child relationships, outlined by Lol l i s and Kuczynski (1997), is useful in understanding current adult daughter - nonresidential father relationships. It is important to note that the goal is not to test the model, but to explore the possible usefulness o f utilizing the model as a framework through which adult daughters' current understandings of their relationships with 1 their fathers can be understood. In order to explore the utility of the model (outlined by Lol l i s and Kuczynski) a qualitative descriptive approach was used to gather adult daughters' accounts o f their current relationships with their nonresidential fathers. The following manuscript describes the present study's purpose, conceptual framework, research methods, findings, discussion and conclusions. The first chapter, the present chapter, serves as an introduction to the study as well as the thesis. The second chapter highlights past literature that has been drawn upon to justify and frame the current research project. Considering the large body of literature on divorce and its short and long-term implications for children, the literature review focuses on the post separation parent -child relationship, specifically the nonresidential father - adult daughter relationship. The third chapter outlines the utilized conceptual model. The model of understanding parent - child interactions in the context of parent - child relationships, developed by Lol l i s and Kuczynski (1997; Lol l i s , 2003), provides a framework through which to understand adult daughters' accounts o f their current relationships with their nonresidential fathers. The present study extrapolates on previous literature that has employed this model by examining adult daughters' accounts of their relational histories with their fathers, from the daughters' perspective in early adulthood. Moreover, the present study demonstrates the possible benefits of employing a relational model to understanding parent - child relationships across the life course. The fourth chapter outlines the methods that were followed in the research process. This includes sample description and procedures. The fifth chapter outlines the analytic presentation strategy and case descriptions. The sixth chapter presents findings from the present research using three case studies. Findings suggest that themes consistent with the 2 conceptual model, relational damage, repair and maintenance, were present within the adult daughters' accounts. The seventh and final chapter presents conclusions to the research. 3 2 LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Long-term Impacts of Parental Divorce on C h i l d r e n In Canada, 38% of marriages are projected to end in divorce before their 30th wedding anniversary (The Vanier Institute of the Family, 2004) and half o f those divorces are estimated to involve dependent children (Statistics Canada, 2005). Thus, experiencing a parental divorce is becoming an increasingly common event for many young Canadians. Restrictive ideology about the nature o f family life has lead to the conclusion that divorce is a social problem with negative consequences for the individual and society. The possibility of parental divorce having long-term negative consequences on adult children has fueled researchers to explore many dimensions o f the impact o f parental divorce. Research suggests many detrimental long-term effects of experiencing parental divorce in childhood. Existing literature reports achievement and adjustment problems in samples of adult children who experienced parental divorce in childhood. These include: lower academic attainment (Amato & Cheadle, 2005; Kre in & Beller, 1989; Z i l l , Morrison, & Coiro, 1993), lower socio-economic status attainment (Amato, 1999), precocious sexual activity (Hogan & Kitagawa, 1985), early marriage (Kulka & Weingarten, 1979), increased probability of dissolving their own marriages (Amato; K u l k a & Weingarten), increased likelihood o f leaving home due to friction (Cherlin, Kiernan, & Chase-Lansdale, 1995), more symptoms of psychological distress and weaker ties with parents (Amato & Cheadle; Z i l l , et al. 1993). The magnitude o f difference between adult children from divorced and intact families, however, is not as severe as public discourse and restrictive family ideology suggest (Amato & Keith, 1991). There is increasing recognition that previous studies have focused 4 on the negative impacts of experiencing parental divorce and thus contain methodological and ideological weaknesses (Boney, 2003; Jeynes, 2006). It has been suggested that future research needs to focus more on conceptualizing divorce as a process, the inclusion of social and cultural variables, a wider representation o f outcome measures (including negative and positive) as wel l as increased efforts to gather longitudinal data and accounts from children who have experienced parental divorce (Boney; Jeynes). B y adopting these changes and employing a perspective other than a deficit or stress-based perspective future research w i l l be able to see different dimensions of the divorce process and its impacts. Despite the recognition that previous research has emphasized the negative impacts o f divorce, thus in effect overlooking the positive impacts, there is empirical support that negative effects of parental divorce are pervasive throughout the life course (Amato, 2003). Thus, it is essential for researchers to continue to explore the impact parental divorce has on children throughout the life course. The present study attempts to examine one domain that has previously been shown to be influenced by parental divorce: post separation parent -child relationships. 2.2 Post Separation Parent - Child Relationships Longitudinal studies suggest that experiencing a divorce permanently rearranges parent - child relationships (Wallerstein & Kel ly , 1980). Since each dyad is unique (having its own history, dynamics, and expectations for the future; Lol l i s , 2003), the impact of divorce varies greatly from dyad to dyad. For instance, within the same family divorce may impact all o f the parent - child dyads differently. While Amato and Keith (1991) found that parental divorce was significantly associated with poorer relationships between parents and their children, they also found that the gender of both the parent and child influenced the post 5 divorce parent - child relationship. Previous literature suggests that father - child relationships are more severely influenced by parental divorce than mother - child relationships (Amato & Keith, 1991). Fathers play an intricate role in their children's lives prior to and following divorce. Following divorce, however, the majority of children maintain residency with their mothers leaving the majority of fathers to enter into the role o f nonresidential parent (see Bailey, 2003 for discussion of the strengths and challenges o f nonresidential fathering). Being faced with adapting to their role as nonresidential parents, fathers may experience increased strain on their relationships with their children. 2.3 Nonresidential Father - Child Relationships Previous research has debated whether it is always beneficial (short-term and long-term) for children to have contact with their nonresidential fathers, with inconsistent results (Amato & Gilbert, 1999; K i n g & Heard, 1999; Reifman, V i l l a , Amans, Rethinam, & Teresca, 2001). This inconsistency may be a result of the numerous factors that influence the involvement of nonresidential fathers and the quality of that involvement. These factors include: the quality of the relationship between the former spouses before and after the divorce (Brody & Forehand, 1990; Camara & Resnick, 1988; Heath & MacKinnon, 1988), the length o f time since the divorce (Bronstein, Stoll, Clauson, Abrams, Briones, 1991; Hetherington, Cox, & Cox, 1982/1985), the remarriage o f either parent (Bray & Berger, 1990; Furstenberg, Peterson, Nord, & Z i l l , 1983; Hetherington et al. 1982), the gender of the child (Hess & Camara, 1979; Hetherington et al. 1982; Wallerstein, 1987), and the age of the child at parental divorce (Grant, Smith, Sinclair, & Salts, 1993; Hetherington, 1979; Kurdrek & Sieski, 1980; Shulman, Scharf, Lumer, & Maurer, 2001). Hence, the contact 6 nonresidential fathers and their children have is very complex, and depends on a variety o f factors. Despite inconsistency among previous studies, in the general population it is accepted that children and nonresidential fathers benefit from contact. A t the same time, it is understood that fathers experience more problems relating to their children post divorce than mothers do (Amato & Keith, 1991; Furstenberg, Peterson, Nord & Z i l l , 1983; Peterson & Z i l l , 1986; Seltzer & Bianchi, 1988), and weakened emotional bonds between themselves and their children (Amato & Booth, 1997; Hetherington & Kel ly , 2002). While these relationships may be difficult to maintain for a variety of reasons, socially and individually there is a commitment to maintaining these relationships. But why? Do fathers make a difference in their children's lives after divorce? While there has been a recommitment to the importance of the role of fathering over the last decade, it does seem that divorce may push the importance of this relationship into the background (Spruijt, de Goede, & Vandervalk, 2004). What does seem to be of most importance to the short and long-term adjustment of children who experience parental divorce is having a good relationship with their father and for their father to be an authoritative parent (Amato & Gilbert, 1999). Moreover, factors that contribute to positive emotions surrounding visitation include support from mother or resident parent (i.e., little conflict), commitment from nonresident parent (i.e., few cancellations), and a diversity o f activities during visits (Struss, Pfeiffer, Preuss, & Felder, 2001). With these factors surrounding visitation, nonresidential fathers can continue to construct their relationships with their children, maintain an active parental role in their children's lives and contribute to the positive adjustment of their children (Amato & Gilbert, 1999). 7 Not only has research shown that children benefit from maintaining relationships with their nonresidential fathers, there is also empirical evidence that suggests nonresidential fathers benefit from maintaining a relationship with their nonresidential children. While contact between nonresidential fathers and their children declines over time (Furstenberg & Nord, 1985; Seltzer & Bianchi, 1988), researchers have reported that maintaining these relationships (particularly father - daughter relationships) may help combat the negative effects that divorce has on men's intergenerational relationships (Rossi & Rossi, 1990). Maintaining nonresidential father - child relationships may limit the negative affects that divorce has on the flow of support between men and their adult children, including care giving and other forms of intergenerational support (for example financial or emotional support; Cooney & Uhlenberg, 1990; Lye , Klepinger, Hyde, & Nelson, 1995; Silverstein, Parrott, & Bengtson, 1995). Furthermore, Bokker, Farley and Denny (2006), reported that recently divorced fathers who experienced more contact had higher levels of emotional wel l -being than fathers who had less contact. While divorce influences the relationship between fathers and their sons and daughters, previous research has paid particular attention to the nonresidential father -daughter relationship which has been shown to be more negatively affected by divorce than any other parent - child dyad within the family (Aquilino, 1994; Booth & Amato, 1994; Cooney, 1994). Booth and Amato (1994) reported that there was significantly less contact and closeness between fathers and daughters from divorced families when compared to intact families. Other researchers have also reported that nonresidential fathers spend more time with sons (Hess & Camara, 1979; Hetherington et al. 1982) and their involvement is more often associated with positive outcomes for boys than girls (Hetherington et al. 1982; 8 Wallerstein, 1987). Similarly, Wallerstein (1991) suggested that daughters are more severely affected by and burdened by the memories o f their parents' divorce than are sons. Thus, since parental divorce influences each dyad differently depending on the gender of both the parent and the child, with the nonresidential father - daughter relationship consistently reported to be the most severely influenced, the present study focuses on the nonresidential father - adult daughter relationship. Due to the complex nature o f post separation parent - child relationships, the present study examines whether a model o f parent - child interactions within the context of the entire relationship, outlined by Lol l i s and Kuczynski (1997), is useful in examining the current adult daughter - nonresidential father relationship. 9 3 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK 3.1 A Model of Parent - Chi ld Interactions in the Context of the Parent - Chi ld Relationship In 1997, Lol l is and Kuczynski outlined a conceptual framework for understanding the development o f parent - child relationships entitled: " A model of parent - child interactions in the context of the parent - child relationship". It was suggested that this model would be able to aid in the organization of existing research as well as act as a tool for future research exploring bidirectional features of parent - child relationships (Pettit & Lol l i s , 1997). The present study explores whether or not the model outlined by Lol l i s and Kuczynski is a useful framework for understanding current adult daughter - nonresidential father relationships. The model is shown in Table 1. The model highlights the importance of bidirectionality and the interconnectedness o f micro interactions and macro relationships (Lollis & Kuczynski , 1997). Bidirectionality can be conceptualized as the notion that parents and children both have agency in their relationships and interactions (Lollis & Kuczynski ; Kuczynski & Lol l i s , 2004). While the notion o f bidirectionality had been drawn on across diverse areas (such as adult relationships, Duck, 1994; childhood peer relationships, Laursen, 1996; and family systems, Minuchin, 1988), it had been used theoretically rather than empirically (Pettit & Lol l i s , 1997). Lol l i s and Kuczynski 's model, however, specifically highlights the importance o f bidirectionality across and within interactions throughout the life course of the parent - child relationship as a tool for future empirical research. Along with the idea o f bidirectional influence, the model also highlights the importance of the interconnectedness of interactions and relationships (Lollis & Kuczynski , 10 1997). The model suggests that parents and children engage in interactions on a daily basis that right from infancy (Hsu & Fogel, 2003) contribute to a relational history. In this way, interactions contribute to the relational history as wel l as take place within the context o f the r pre-existing relationship (Harach & Kuczynski , 2005). This proposed relationship between interactions and relationships builds on Hinde's (1976, 1979) earlier work on the relation between micro interactions and enduring relationships (Lollis & Kuczynski; Harach & Kuzynski). The model also illustrates how interactions occur throughout the life course and thus across different developmental stages and contexts, represented by the top horizontal and vertical axis in Table 1, respectively (Lollis & Kuczynski). The model also provides a way o f understanding how past expectations and future anticipated interactions work together to create current understandings of the relationship, illustrated by the bottom horizontal axis in Table 1 (Lollis & Kuczynski , 1997). Parent -child relationships exist over a prolonged period of time. They thus consist of a past, present and future where past interactions create expectations for future anticipated interactions (Lollis, 2003). Furthermore, due to the enduring nature of parent - child relationships there is an expectation and anticipation that there w i l l be future interactions. Together these past expectations and future anticipated interactions create the dynamics within the current interactions (Lollis & Kuczynski). 11 Figure 3.1: A Model of Parent - Chi ld Interactions in the Context of Parent - Chi ld Relationships Infancy Attachment H 1 1 1 r Toddlerhooc Childhood Adolescence Adulthood » -I"- PP Compliance H p J | . " : : = f - ' « dip Teaching r' -jJ CaregK/ing , - J , | L K ^ Past Expectations r Cr' f V c ' — - u ! r - r - - - - . - - - ; r' L i r <j- : r c ^ i r r ^ p r,::;;;;;^;: i _r L j - ••• Future Anticipations Source: Lol l i s & Kuczynski , 1997 Within the model, there are a variety of ways of understanding how past expectations and future anticipations influence parent - child present interactions. These include conceptualizing the past as having actually happened, as being reconstructed, or as being biological (Lollis, 2003). Within the present study the past is conceptualized as being reconstructed. Subsequently, from this perspective, it is what adult daughters remember and have integrated into their narratives concerning their current relationship with their nonresidential father that w i l l influence their present and future anticipated interactions with their nonresidential father. It is this which is of interest to the present study. Therefore, the conceptual framework emphasizes the importance of the biographical nature of parent - child relationships from the reconstructed accounts o f the adult daughters. Acknowledging and utilizing the reconstructed past perspective is also consistent with social constructionist approaches which emphasize the importance o f how individuals 12 interpret, create meaning and act on the interpretations of events that have occurred as opposed to the simple occurrence of events (Kurdek, 1993). Other researchers have also emphasized the importance o f exploring individuals' accounts of divorce through an interpretive framework. Hopper (1993; 2001) argues that researchers need to think about social order as being constructed through interpretive processes. Hopper suggests that instead o f focusing on breaking down the divorce process into discrete steps or pieces, these processes should be approached by looking at the interpretive meaning that the individuals who experience them create (Hopper, 1993). Therefore, within the conceptual model, the reconstructed past perspective guided the present research project by providing a lens through which adult daughters' accounts could be conceptualized. Researchers in the field of parent - child relationships have utilized the model outlined by Lol l i s and Kuczynski in various ways. Hsu & Fogel (2003) described how mothers and their infants begin to build a relational history right from infancy. From infancy, relational histories are constantly constructed and contribute to expectations and future anticipated interactions throughout childhood. For example, Harach and Kuczynski (2003) conducted open-ended interviews with parents in order to understand how they perceived their relationships with their 4 to 7 year old children to be constructed by themselves and their children. Since each parent - child relationship is built upon interactions that are unique to the specific dyad, each dyad within the family is distinct. Previous research has highlighted the distinctness between dyads. Specifically, Dawber & Kuczynski (1999) used the model to understand the unique interactions between mothers and their children versus other children when faced with disciplinary decisions. Mothers behaved differently when disciplining their own children through higher emotional investment evident 13 in long-term socialization goals. Researchers attributed their behaviour to the enduring nature of parent - child relationships and the existence of past expectations and future anticipated interactions. A l so because o f the enduring nature of the parent - child relationship, interactions occur across contexts, with discipline being only one. Previous research has also explored issues of bidirectional influence in studies of play (Dunn, 1997). Existing literature, therefore, has focused on employing the model to understand parent -child interactions and relationships through the perspective of parents of children in infancy, early childhood and adolescence. The present study extrapolates the model by looking at the child's perspective in then-early adulthood. Using the concepts of relational damage, repair and maintenance outlined by Harach and Kuczynski (2005) as a starting point, the present study examines whether or not there is evidence of these processes in adult daughters' accounts of their relational histories and understandings of their current relationships with their nonresidential fathers. Thus, the conceptual framework acts as a sensitizing tool (Ragin, 1994) allowing for the identification of themes and concepts that emphasize the bidirectional, biographical and interpretative nature of the nonresidential father - adult daughter relationship. Hence, processes that focus on how fathers and daughters continually construct their current relationships are emphasized. The present study builds on the idea that interactions are continually constructing parent - child relationships and contribute to past expectations, future anticipation, and dynamic present interactions (Lollis & Kuczynski , 1997). It examines whether the outlined conceptual model is useful in examining and understanding adult daughters' accounts of their relationships with their nonresidential father. 14 4 METHOD 4.1 Sample In order to explore whether the conceptual model is helpful in understanding adult daughters' current understandings of their relationships with their nonresidential fathers a qualitative descriptive approach was employed. Initially, participants were recruited who were female, experienced parental divorce between the ages o f 5 and 9, maintained residency with their mother after parental divorce, maintained some type o f contact with their nonresidential father, and who were at the time of interview between the ages o f 20 and 25. Participants' age, gender and post separation l iving arrangements were controlled since previous literature demonstrates that these characteristics may influence the way in which individuals interpret and incorporate their experiences into their constructions of their current relationships with their nonresidential fathers. Specifically, gender and post separation custodial arrangement were controlled in order to align with the aim o f the present study. Age at parental divorce was controlled since previous research has suggested it may affect children's experiences. Reported findings, however, are inconsistent. For example, in a meta-analysis by Amato and Kei th (1991) it was reported that older children were more affected than younger children. Contrary to these findings, Pagani, Boulerice, Tremblay, and Vitaro (1997) reported that children who experienced parental divorce before the age of 6 exhibited more adjustment problems than children who experienced parental divorce when they were older. Despite contradictory evidence for the specific role age at parental divorce plays in the adjustment process, for the present study it was important to isolate a specific age group. Isolating a specific age group allowed for comparison across accounts since they 15 were all at similar developmental stages at the time of divorce. Moreover, isolating a specific age group also controlled for time between parental divorce and time of interview. A l l participants were university students who identified themselves to the researcher through email. Participants became aware o f the study through the Social Work and Family Studies student list serve as well as announcements in undergraduate Family Studies classes. Students enrolled in Social Work and Family Studies received an email from the researcher containing an attachment of a flyer providing the title and sampling criteria of the study as well as contact information (see Appendix A for advertisement). Announcements in the undergraduate classes contained the same information from the email in the form o f a handout. Prior to solicitation for participation, all materials where submitted to the University of British Columbia Behavioural Research Ethics Board along with the standard application for Behavioural Ethical Review. Overall, it was difficult to gather a sample. Thus, due to the availability of participants adjustments were made to the initial sampling criteria. The resulting self-selected opportunistic sample consisted o f 9 adult daughters who were between 19 and 24 years of age at the time of the interview, experienced parental divorce between the ages of 6 and 12, maintained residency with their mother after the parental divorce, and maintained some type of contact with their nonresidential father. Attributes o f the participants are described in Table 1. Within the sample participants had a mean current age at time o f interview of approximately 21 years old and a mean age at parental divorce of 9. 16 Table 4.1: Sample Description Pseudonyms Age at Divorce Birth Order Current Age Length of Interview (Minutes) Daughter's Attribution of Divorce Presence of Step-Family Siblings Krystal 10 Oldest 21 30 Infidelity Dad Repartnered 1 Sister Allison 9 Only Child 24 32 Personality Differences Never Repartnered Only Child Rory 9 Oldest 23 38 Domestic Violence Both Repartnered 1 Sister Amanda 6 Oldest 19 36 Infidelity Both Repartnered 1 Brother Leslie 8 Only Child 22 63 Infidelity Both Repartnered Only Child Josie 10 Youngest 20 31 Infidelity Never Repartnered 2 Sisters Joy 12 Oldest 21 74 Personality Differences Both Repartnered 1 Brother Mol ly 12 Youngest 20 44 Infidelity Both Repartnered 1 Brother Marissa 12 Oldest 20 36 Personality Differences Both Repartnered 2 Sisters 4.2 Procedure Once participants identified themselves to the researcher, a time was arranged for the interview to be conducted. Interviews were conducted within a university lab. Interviews ranged in length from 29 minutes to 1 hour and 13 minutes, averaging 43 minutes. A t the beginning of the interview the researcher and the participant went through the informed consent form together to ensure that participants were fully aware of the nature of the interview, the possible risks and the limitations of confidentiality (see Appendix B for informed consent form). Once the participant signed the consent form, the voice recorder was turned on. The interviews, which were semi-structured, began with a genogram. A genogram is a tool that interviewers and clinicians use as a way of establishing rapport with participants/clients (Ivey & Ivey, 2003). It also allowed the interviewer to gain a clearer understanding o f the participant's family background, which aided the interviewer throughout the interview (Ivey & Ivey, 2003). Once the genogram was complete, questions (see Appendix C) concerning the respondent's parental divorce and their familial relationships were covered. Usually, the interview began with discussing the parental divorce. The order in which participants were asked questions varied depending on the respondent's unique experiences and the order in which they told their story to the interviewer. For instance, some interviewees waited for the interviewer to ask questions and others began talking about their relationships with their fathers while completing the genogram. Once the interview was complete, the researcher thanked the respondent for their time. A follow-up thank-you email was sent to the participant a few days after the interview. In order to examine adult daughters' accounts of their current relationship with their nonresidential fathers completed interviews were transcribed and qualitatively analyzed for 18 themes and concepts based on the conceptual framework. This was accomplished by creating codes based on the concepts of relational damage, repair and maintenance. Once identified sections of the data which represented each category was coded. The qualitative data analysis software program N V i v o was used in this. N V i v o allowed the researcher to search for codes within and across transcripts. Employing a qualitative approach was beneficial because it allowed for the exploration of the adult daughter - nonresidential father relationship within the context o f their entire relationship history through the interpretive perspective o f the adult daughter. Collection and analysis o f the interview data was guided by both a grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss, & Corbin, 1994) and a biographical approach (Rosenthal, 2004). Qualitative analysis is an iterative process that begins right from the formation of the research question. B y choosing to employ the outlined conceptual framework, data collection and analysis were theoretically sensitized to concepts consistent with Lol l i s and Kuczynski 's (1997) model. The concept of theoretical sensitivity is central to grounded theory. Strauss and Corbin (1990) suggest that theoretical sensitivity is an accumulation of a researcher's professional and personal experiences and current literature in an empirical area that sensitizes the researcher to specific themes and concepts. In this sense, data collection and analysis was framed by concepts consistent with the model of understanding parent - child interactions in the context o f their relationships and the biographical importance of these relationships. This was evident in the construction of the interview guide as well as other phases o f the research project. The purpose of the interview guide was to treat the father - daughter relationship as having a relational history, a life story that needed to be gathered. B y adopting a semi-structured interview style the interviewer had the flexibility to follow-up on different parts 19 of an individual's story that may have been relevant to their specific relational history. Furthermore, in order to make sure the interview guide was an effective tool, preliminary analysis began immediately after collection and transcription. This was useful since after the first interview the order in which the questions were asked was changed to aid the flow of the interview and the depth of the accounts gathered. The way in which both grounded theory and a biographical approach guided analysis in the present study can be described as a process o f interpretive induction. Interpretive induction is a process o f qualitative research that recognizes the tension between deductive and inductive research (Kuczynski & Daly, 2003). In the case of inductive research, it is recognizes that existing literature and theoretical frameworks could provide valuable tools for researchers (Kuczynski & Daly). Moreover, Kuczynski and Daly suggest that future research on parent -child interactions and relationships would benefit from employing a qualitative approach o f interpretive induction which highlights the use of theoretical sensitivity. Therefore, collection and analysis in the present study borrowed strategies from grounded theory and a biographical approach through a process of interpretive induction. 20 5 ANALYTIC PRESENTATION STRATEGY Due to the complexity and challenges of presenting qualitative research, Matthews (2005) suggests that one strategy for composing qualitative research is to present findings using case studies. She argues that case studies provide a way to present adequate evidence to support analysis by offering the reader the opportunity to really get to know each o f the cases. Therefore, in order to present findings of the present study three cases w i l l be presented: Josie, M o l l y and Al l i son . These three cases were chosen because each illustrates a different degree of stability and change within their accounts of their interactions and thus their relationships with their nonresidential fathers. Josie's account demonstrates change while M o l l y and Al l i son ' s accounts demonstrate stability. Together these three cases capture the variability of interactions present throughout all nine of the interviews. 5.1 Case Descriptions Throughout all nine o f the interviews themes of relational construction were present. Based on the conceptual framework relational construction was conceptualized to include processes o f relational damage, repair and maintenance (Harach & Kuczynski , 2005). In the analysis, the three cases w i l l be drawn upon to illustrate the themes o f relational damage, repair and maintenance within the context o f the negotiation of familial ties after a separation. Josie's account illustrates how father - daughter relationships can change over time, from consistently positive interactions to consistently negative interactions. M o l l y ' s case illustrates these themes within a relatively stable negative relational context whereas; Al l i son ' s case illustrates the stability of parent - child interactions within a relatively positive relational context. In this way, by focusing on different instances of relational damage, maintenance and repair from the 21 relational histories gathered, we can begin to comprehend Josie's, M o l l y ' s and Al l i son ' s current understandings o f their relationships with their nonresidential fathers. 5.1.1 Case 1: Josie A t the time of the interview Josie was 20 years old and her parents divorced when she was 10 years old. Josie is the youngest o f three girls and neither of her parents ever remarried or repartnered. Both o f her parents worked full time in the same family-owned and operated business and continued to work together after the divorce. After the divorce, however, her father moved approximately 300 km away from the original family home, within which Josie, her sisters and her mother remained. Josie attributes the divorce to her father's infidelity, which she learned about sporadically throughout high school through stories from her mother and her sisters. When asked about her relationship with her father prior to the divorce, Josie described their relationship as close: Growing up me and my Dad were r e a l l y , r e a l l y c l o s e ... [M] y Dad ... [would] go on f i e l d t r i p s [as a] supervisor and come to the classroom and supervise and we d i d a l l kinds of things together. Thus, Josie describes her early relationship with her father as a close one, built upon a foundation of interactions. After the divorce, however, this relationship changed dramatically. After the divorce, Josie had inconsistent contact with her father. Josie did not learn about her parents' divorce until her father had been away from the family home for a couple months. Moreover, Josie described an incident that repetitively arose in her accounts, involving her father's responsibilities as her soccer coach during the time of the separation. Before the divorce Josie's father was her soccer coach in a league, after he moved away from the family home he discontinued his role as coach and her older sister had to take over. Josie's father never talked to her about this and it was never resolved. This event was drawn upon by Josie many times during 22 her interview. For example when Josie was asked about the contact that she and her father had after the divorce Josie described: I was p r e t t y mad about the whole soccer coaching t h i n g [chuckles] so I mean, l i k e I made no e f f o r t to c a l l him or anything and he made l i t t l e e f f o r t too. Throughout the years after the divorce, Josie continually described a lack of contact between herself and her father. He was p r e t t y much gone. And he would ... l i k e I remember one Christmas he didn't even come back and i t was j u s t completely d i f f e r e n t ... So I remember those few years I b a r e l y saw him and it...you know what I mean i t was very very l i m i t e d . Throughout the interview Josie continually described events and situations that she saw as demonstrating their lack of communication and contact. Josie also accounted for the change in their relationship, describing it in the following terms: [ I ] t ' s completely ... i t ' s formal and i t ' s ... i t ' s not dependable and i t ' s j u s t ... i f i t comes, i t comes, and i t ' s - I used to t h i n k of me and my Dad as r e a l l y c l o s e because me and my Dad are a l o t a l i k e i n p e r s o n a l i t y . And - I t was so r t - 'cos my Dad never had any sons and I was kind of the c l o s e s t t h i n g ... you know we would do l i k e l i t t l e house f i x - i t t h i n g s together and we were, you know, l i k e I was my Dad's l i t t l e s i d e - k i c k , so ... - I always thought of us as, l i k e , c l o s e and good and I t h i n k , I t h i n k that resentment and that unspoken l i k e the f a c t that i t was never resolv e d and never f o r m a l l y f o r g i v e n makes i t uncomfortable f o r me. I t makes ... I'm uncomfortable to be alone with him, because I f e e l l i k e I don't have anything to say to him. And I f e e l ... I don't f e e l - at a l l any of the - I guess what t r a d i t i o n a l l y people have with t h e i r Dad, you know, l i k e when people [say] l i k e "Oh I went out f o r lunch with my Dad", l i k e I could never comprehend that now ... j u s t c a l l i n g up my Dad and going out f o r lunch. Furthermore, when asked about the future of their relationship Josie described how she was not sure whether she wanted her father to walk her down the isle at her wedding. Thus, throughout Josie's account, change over time in relationships and interactions emerged from her account. Specifically, a change from generally positive to negative interpretations of interactions. 23 5.1.2 Case 2: Mol ly M o l l y ' s case w i l l be drawn upon to illustrate continuity and stability across parent - child post separation relationships. M o l l y ' s account provides evidence for stability across the father -daughter relationship after experiencing divorce. Throughout M o l l y ' s account there are consistent descriptions o f negative interactions and global relational attributes. Thus, M o l l y ' s case demonstrates continuity of negative interactions throughout the relational history. M o l l y ' s parents began the process of dissolving their union when M o l l y was 8 years old. M o l l y described a process of her father moving in and out before her parents divorced 4 years later, when she was 12 years old. A t the time of the interview, M o l l y was 20 years old. Unlike, Josie, both o f M o l l y ' s parents were engaged in new relationships. M o l l y ' s mother was living in a common-law relationship and her father was remarried. M o l l y has one sibling, a brother who is 2 years older than her. Neither o f her parents have had any more children. M o l l y attributes the divorce to her father's infidelity. M o l l y became aware of her father's infidelity when her parents separated. After the separation M o l l y ' s father moved in with his mistress who he eventually married. After the separation M o l l y , her brother, and her mother maintained residency in the family home and her father bought a house within walking distance, so that M o l l y and her brother could walk to and from both homes and school. Prior to the divorce, M o l l y described the relationship with her father as: Ummm ... Yeh ... I t ... he worked ... l i k e he was always l i k e a huge workaholic l i k e he s t i l l i s but ... l i k e he was never r e a l l y home or around l i k e never r e a l l y came to any l i k e soccer games or anything ... I don't know, no i t was, i t was, i t wasn't great i t was never great. Hence, M o l l y describes her relationship with her father as "not great", lacking in shared activities and quality time. When asked about her relationship with her father after the divorce M o l l y described how: 24 He was never r e a l l y there f o r any of i t . L i k e i t wasn't r e a l l y ... Ummm, I don't know ... Yeh, no he wasn't r e a l l y ... L i k e i n my grad write-up I didn't I was l i k e , you know, Mum and Brother thanks f o r being there. I can remember w r i t i n g that and everyone s a i d that was harsh, " w e l l she didn't even thank her Dad" and I'm l i k e w e l l he hasn't been there, you know l i k e I don't have any r e c o l l e c t i o n of him doing anything f o r me, l i k e besides f i n a n c i a l l y , l i k e so ... Yeh. When comparing these two excerpts, there is continuity between M o l l y ' s described perceived pre divorce and post divorce relationship with her father. Moreover, when asked about her current relationship with her father M o l l y said: I t ' s l i k e I r e a l l y don't have much of a r e l a t i o n s h i p with him, l i k e i t ' s j u s t ... l i k e with my Step mom I t a l k to her tons and I l e a r n everything through her but with him l i k e I t a l k to him once every couple of months. Ummm and ahhh ... You know l i k e i t sounds t e r r i b l e but I don't r e a l l y know i f I didn't have i t at a l l i f I would even n o t i c e , you know, l i k e i f I'd miss i t because i t ' s r e a l l y ... I don't know ... Yeh i t ' s , i t , i t ' s not good and i t ' s not l i k e h o r r i b l e , but ummm Yeh i t ' s j u s t not r e a l l y e x i s t e n t . [small laugh] Here we can see that it is through her stepmother, who earlier in her account was attributed as the cause o f the divorce, that she maintains involved in her father's life. Throughout her account, M o l l y described her step mother as: a r e a l l y r e a l l y great person, l i k e I r e a l l y love her and umm I r e a l l y hope that she stays with my Dad l i k e because I don't t h i n k ... he r e a l l y l i k e ... I would f e e l r e a l l y , r e a l l y s o r r y f o r him i f he didn't have her. And ummm ... but yeh, no she, she's good, yeh we have a r e a l l y good r e l a t i o n s h i p . Later M o l l y added that she emails her step mom about twice a week and really enjoys keeping in contact with her. Even with her step mom as a facilitator, however, M o l l y still continually describes a lack o f positive interactions with her father. M o l l y has interpreted her interactions and global relationship with her father in a negative manner. From M o l l y ' s perspective, her father's lack o f engagement in their relationship has been stable throughout her childhood and into her early adulthood. It is also important to note that throughout the interview M o l l y seemed upset. Her speech was very quick, she hesitated a lot, and sometimes she "sniffed", almost as though she were holding back tears. 25 5.1.3 Case 3: Allison All ison ' s case w i l l be drawn upon to illustrate stability across time in parent - child interactions and relationships. In the interview, Al l i son described interactions with her father as being consistently positive throughout their relational history. Not only did Al l i son describe consistently positive interactions, her account contained no evidence of relational damage or repair. It is important to note that Al l i son ' s case was an anomaly. Though her interview was not the only one that remained consistently positive across interactions, her case was the only case that lacked evidence o f relational damage and repair. A t the time o f the interview Al l i son was 24 years old and her parents divorced when she was 9 years old. Al l i son is an only child and neither of her parents ever remarried or repartnered. Al l i son attributes the divorce to personality differences between her parents. When asked about the relationship between herself and her father prior to the divorce, Al l i son described: I remember l i k e my dad was l i k e a lways t e l l i n g me t o do my homework and r e a d and s t u f f and i t was a good' r e l a t i o n s h i p ... b o t h my dad and m y s e l f a r e o u t d o o r s p e o p l e so we used t o go f o r l i k e wa lks t o g e t h e r and go l i k e f o r d r i v e s and camping w h i l e my mum was not an o u t s i d e p e r s o n a t a l l ! So t h a t , t h a t l i k e kept t h e bond between my dad and m y s e l f , t h a t we were t h e a d v e n t u r e t y p e o f p e o p l e . Thus, prior to the separation Al l i son describes her father as being an involved authoritative parent. Immediately after the divorce her father moved to an apartment within the same apartment building as she and her mother. Her father remained in the same apartment until Al l i son was 15 when he relocated for work. Before the relocation, Al l i son went to her father's apartment every day after school to do her homework and to have dinner. Al l i son described the day-to-day routine that she and her father followed during this time: W e l l he used t o be l i k e ... a t t h e b e g i n n i n g he used t o come t o l i k e my p l a c e t o p i c k me up and he had t h e key t o my p l a c e as w e l l l i k e f o r emergency and t h i n g s l i k e t h a t ... Ummm so he u s e d t o come p i c k me up and t h e n I guess when I was 14 or^ 15 I u sed t o go down t o h i s p l a c e b e c a u s e sometimes he w o u l d n ' t wake up because sometimes i t was l i k e I would wake h im up and make h i s c o f f e e and t h e n we'd go t o , and t h e n h e ' d 26 d r i v e me t o s c h o o l because he had a home b u s i n e s s . So i t was e a s i e r f o r h im t o do t h a t and t h e n he used t o ummmm p i c k me up f rom s c h o o l and t h e n I ' d go t o h i s p l a c e t o do my homework ... So I ' d go up whenever I ' d done my work ... t o my mum's p l a c e . And i f my mum was out o f town f o r any r e a s o n I ' d s t a y w i t h my d a d . This routine, however, was altered when her father relocated for work. Since the time her father first relocated, Al l i son ' s father has moved several times throughout Canada. Though Al l i son and her father have spent long spans o f time without seeing each other Al l i son described a continuous stream of phone calls between the two o f them. [ H ] e ' s t h e one t h a t c a l l s and c h e c k s up on me how am I d o i n g i n s c h o o l , am I a c t u a l l y s t a y i n g on t o p o f t h i n g s and ... he g i v e s me a l e c t u r e on how I 'm d o i n g t o o much and I 'm not c o n c e n t r a t i n g on s c h o o l ... t h a t whole f a t h e r t h i n g and my mum says t h e same t h i n g , b u t she l i k e s t h a t I 'm i n v o l v e d i n so many d i f f e r e n t t h i n g s so ... I g i v e my dad l e c t u r e s on h i s j o b and how he c o u l d do b e t t e r i n t h i n g s and t h e n he j u s t b r u s h e s me o f f and says " I ' m the dad I know what I 'm d o i n g " and I 'm l i k e "No you d o n ' t ! " "You d o n ' t have t h e s l i g h t e s t i d e a what y o u ' r e d o i n g h e r e " ! ! ! [ l aughs ] This account is an example of the ease in which she described her relationship with her father, throughout the interview. Furthermore, Al l i son described how her father visits when he can and stays on the couch at her mother's home when he is in town. When asked about the future of their relationship Al l i son described: I ' d l i k e my dad and I t o spend more t i m e l i k e h i k i n g and t h i n g s l i k e t h a t ... y e h , I would t r y t o spend more t i m e w i t h my d a d , y e h . Overall, Al l i son described her relationship with her father as built upon a foundation o f positive interactions. Together these three cases illustrate the diverse range of interactions that were present within the data. Throughout the presentation of findings each w i l l be drawn upon to illustrate different aspects of relational damage, repair and maintenance throughout the individual relational histories. 27 It is through the iterative nature o f qualitative analysis that the processes of relational damage, repair and maintenance were identified in the data. It is these themes that illuminate the process of relational construction, specifically the interaction between past experiences, future anticipated and dynamic current interactions that aid in the exploration and understanding of the current adult daughter - nonresidential father relationship. 28 6 RESULTS 6.1 Relational Damage Relational damage has been conceptualized as an event, series o f events, or interpretation of events described by the participant that created or creates tension within the relationship. Previous research has suggested that relational damage includes interactions that demonstrate a lack of communication and spending time together, not sharing feelings and ideas, high unrealistic expectations, controlling behaviour, conflict, non-responsiveness and inappropriate responses (Harach & Kuczynski , 2005). A s well as previously identified interactions, from existent literature, there were also concepts related to relational damage that emerged from the data, specifically related to experiencing parental divorce. In order to present the findings related to the presence o f themes o f relational damage, Case 1 and 2, Josie and M o l l y respectively, w i l l be utilized. In Case 3, no examples of relational damage were present. This, however, was in contrast to the other 8 interviews. Through the accounts of Josie and M o l l y the spectrum of interactions causing relational damage present within the interviews w i l l be demonstrated. Josie's account demonstrates relational damage that has occurred due to a lack o f effort, engagement, and responsiveness from both parties. One o f the ways in which relational damage occurred is the lack of time that Josie and her father spent together. For instance, as mentioned earlier, when describing her relationship with her father right after the separation Josie said that; He was p r e t t y much gone ... I remember one C h r i s t m a s he d i d n ' t even come back and i t was j u s t c o m p l e t e l y d i f f e r e n t ... I remember t h o s e few y e a r s I b a r e l y saw h i m . Furthermore, later on she attributes the lack of physical contact with her father to his relocation to a new city. 29 So t h a t ' s why I t h i n k I saw him even l e s s , b e c a u s e he l i v e d [ i n a new C i t y ] and I had no r e a s o n t o go up t h e r e . Thus, through these examples it is clear that Josie and her father did not have a lot o f physical contact throughout the years after the separation. Throughout the cases, though, it was clear that a lack of physical contact alone did not necessarily lead to relational damage. A lack of physical contact coupled with a lack o f communication, however, did cause continual relational damage. A lack of physical contact and communication is interwoven in Josie's account of her post separation relationship with her father. When probed about the contact that she had with her father throughout high school Josie replied: No phone , u n l e s s he would c a l l and he n e e d e d t o t a l k t o my Mom and he would say "Hey J o s i e , how a r e y o u ? " . B u t , not even t h a t r e a l l y . And ... he would c a l l f o r my Mom [about] once a month . Later Josie expanded on the contact that she had with her father when probed about post separation familial traditions and routines. C h r i s t m a s I d i d n ' t see him ... On my b i r t h d a y s he would c a l l , b u t ... sometimes i t would be l i k e t h e day a f t e r ... o r maybe one b i r t h d a y h e ' d come down, l i k e the day a f t e r o r a few days l a t e r and be l i k e "Oh, I ' v e got t o p i c k you up a p r e s e n t " o r s o m e t h i n g ... i t was v e r y v e r y l i m i t e d . Not only does Josie describe a lack of communication, contact, and involvement with her father on a day-to-day basis, she also describes milestone family events which her father has been absent for. [H]e m i s s e d my s i s t e r ' s 30 th b i r t h d a y c o m p l e t e l y . [W]e threw a b i g c e l e b r a t i o n we c a l l e d and we l e f t him a message ... h e ' s ... u n r e l i a b l e t h a t way, sometimes h e ' l l be t h e r e and sometimes he w o n ' t . Within this account, it is clear that not only is there a lack of communication and contact between herself and her father, the lack o f engagement described from Josie's perspective can be conceptualized as being non-responsive. For instance, in the above example, it is not that there was no contact, but there was a lack of reciprocity. 30 Not only was there no reciprocation during that specific event, Josie goes on to describe a continual lack of responsiveness from her father which she constructs as creating tension within their relationship. For example, Josie describes how: [H]e n e v e r acknowledges "oh hey I h a v e n ' t seen you i n so l o n g " , i t ' s j u s t "hey how's i t going?".. . I w i s h t h a t he w o u l d n ' t show up a t my d o o r and p r e t e n d l i k e n o t h i n g ' s wrong . Thus, it is not only the lack of contact and communication that creates relational damage it is the lack of effort to respond appropriately to previous interactions and circumstances. In Josie's account, therefore, she sees her father as responding inappropriately, i f and when he responds at all, which contributes to continual relational damage. Overall, Josie's account illustrates relational damage that has occurred through a lack of engagement in the relationship. This lack o f engagement is composed of events that demonstrate a lack of communication, contact, and responsiveness. M o l l y ' s account, in contrast, demonstrates relational damage due to interactions riddled with conflict, unrealistic high expectations, and controlling behaviour. Relational damage can occur when there is a lot of conflict in the interactions within a relationship. Throughout M o l l y ' s account there is constant explicit and implicit accounts o f conflict across the relational history. When asked about her relationship with her father after the divorce M o l l y said: I d o n ' t know, we would argue a l o t ... Not only did M o l l y describe conflict as a general attribute o f their relationship, she also described conflict as arising from other events that damaged the relationship. One o f these other ways was through not sharing feelings. M o l l y described how through a lack of self-disclosure conflict arises. H e ' s l i k e n e v e r s a i d "I l o v e y o u " , n e v e r ... H e ' s j u s t ... he d o e s n ' t show h i s e m o t i o n s , you know l i k e I mean i t ' s not t h a t he d i d n ' t l o v e u s , 31 l i k e I 'm s u r e he d o e s , he j u s t , h e ' s v e r y l i k e k i n d o f c o l d and h a r d and s e r i o u s . Later on M o l l y adds: I n e v e r know how h e ' s f e e l i n g , l i k e I n e v e r know, l i k e t h e most l i k e l o v e he e v e r shows [ i s ] i n t h e b i r t h d a y c a r d [when] he s i g n s Love Dad. A l t h o u g h h e ' s s i g n e d Love M a t t b e f o r e wh ich i s f u n n y , o r from M a t t o r j u s t s i g n e d M a t t , l i k e ' cos he d o e s n ' t even know what h e ' s s i g n i n g ... i t ' s j u s t put i n f r o n t o f h im l i k e s i g n t h i s b i r t h d a y c a r d M a t t ... i t ' s j u s t not t h e r e ... i t ' s so bad ... Here we can see how M o l l y attributes her father's lack of disclosure as dispositional. B y M o l l y discursively attributing his lack of disclosure to his disposition, M o l l y attempts to distance herself from this behaviour. Despite M o l l y ' s efforts to discursively manage the lack o f self-disclosure, however, M o l l y describes conflict arising from this lack of disclosure: H e ' s v e r y - h e ' s not e m o t i o n a l and you n e v e r know what h e ' s t h i n k i n g . Ummm, b u t ummm Y e s , and t h e n I had a n o t h e r b i g f i g h t w i t h h im t h i s summer a c t u a l l y .about [ c h u c k l e s ] how he had n e v e r umm, l i k e n e v e r says he l o v e s us ... Thus, it is clear that regardless of her attribution of this behaviour it hurts her, and in turn causes tension within the relationship. In M o l l y ' s case, contrary to Josie, overt conflict occurs from experiencing relational damage, thus in turn contributing to more relational damage. Not only does relational damage occur through not sharing feelings, relational damage also occurs through interpreting expectations as high and unrealistic. M o l l y describes how from her perspective her father has high unrealistic expectations for his children. L i k e h e ' s , h e ' s a lways h e ' s been k i n d o f l i k e , we - my b r o t h e r and I a lways l i k e s t r o v e t o a c h i e v e b e c a u s e we j u s t wanted him t o be p r o u d o f us b u t l i k e he n e v e r shows, l i k e h e ' s n e v e r p r o u d , l i k e h e ' s n e v e r s o r t o f l i k e "Oh good f o r y o u , I am so p r o u d o f you" e t c e t e r a o r a n y t h i n g l i k e t h a t . M o l l y elaborated later how her interpretations of his expectations create tension within the current relationship as wel l as her expectations for their future relationship. I 'm a p r e t t y l i k e , I d o n ' t know, I have a p r e t t y r e a l i s t i c p o i n t o f v iew and I t h i n k t h a t i t ' s not r e a l l y , I d o n ' t t h i n k i t w i l l e v e r get g r e a t o r be t h a t much b e t t e r , l i k e I l i k e t o t h i n k t h a t you know, maybe 32 once I ge t my PhD h e ' l l f i n a l l y be p r o u d o f me o r s o m e t h i n g b u t , I t h i n k t h a t l i k e why would he , l i k e why would he a l l o f a sudden , you know, be p r o u d and s t u f f t h e n and he h a s n ' t y e t ? You know, l i k e i t ' s l i k e a l l t h e s e t h i n g s keep h a p p e n i n g and i t ' s l i k e w e l l maybe i f I j u s t do t h i s t h e n h e ' l l , you know, l i k e show some l i k e show t h a t h e ' s p r o u d , and o r c o n g r a t u l a t e me o r w h a t e v e r , maybe i f I j u s t do t h i s , maybe i f I j u s t do t h a t , but no i t ' s s o r t o f a lways l i k e OK w e l l t h e nex t s t e p i s t h a t you have t o do t h a t . And so i t ' s l i k e I 'm a lways l i k e s t r i v i n g f o r s o m e t h i n g and I 'm n e v e r g o i n g t o ge t i t , so , ummm I d o n ' t know. M o l l y ' s father may or may not be proud o f her accomplishments, but she does not interpret his behaviour as indicating pride. The lack of communication of feelings leaves M o l l y to interpret that he w i l l never be proud of her because of his unrealistically high expectations. This creates relational damage because M o l l y uses it as one of the justifications for why their relationship w i l l not get better. Relational damage can also occur through one o f the members of the relationship demonstrating controlling behaviour. Control within parent - child relationships is expected. Parents set limits for their children and it is within those parameters that they are expected to behave. Control, however, and the power exerted in order to maintain or impose control by one individual over another, is not unilateral. While it may be assumed that parents hold more power in relationships with their children, this relationship is not straight forward. Children also hold power and exert agency within parent - child relationships (Kuczynski & Lol l i s , 2005). Thus, when either a child's or a parent's behaviour is interpreted to be overly controlling it can cause relational damage. M o l l y describes interactions with her father that, from her perspective, were overly controlling, created tension within the relationship and thus damaged the relationship. [M] y b r o t h e r and I were a lways i n f e a r j u s t b e c a u s e my Dad ... would be l i k e you know "you can watch h a l f an hour o f TV a week" t h a t s o r t o f t h i n g , l i k e and so l i k e we would be l i k e s n e a k i n g a r o u n d and t h e r e was a lways l i k e s o r t o f "Oh you can have t h i s f o o d and you c a n ' t have t h a t f o o d but you have t o ea t a l l o f t h i s and do a l l o f t h a t and you have t o s k i f o r t h e whole d a y , you have t o get up a t t h i s t i m e and l i k e , you c a n ' t come back t o t h e condo" l i k e , and s o , Yeh i t was j u s t , i t w a s n ' t f u n . L i k e we h a t e d g o i n g o v e r t h e r e l i k e we r e a l l y d i d n ' t want t o . 33 Thus, M o l l y ' s father's controlling behaviour created tension within their relationship and affected her desire to spend time with him. Overall, M o l l y ' s case illustrates relational damage that is riddled with conflict due to not sharing feelings, unrealistically high expectations, and controlling behaviour. Each case, Josie and M o l l y , illustrate different types of interactions that lead to relational damage. While each case illustrates distinct interaction patterns that they described, themes of relational damage related specifically to the experience of parental divorce were present in both accounts. Concepts within the theme of relational damage that were present included descriptions of events related to child support and visitation and negotiating parents' new relationships. In M o l l y ' s case, relational damage occurred due to conflict within the family surrounding child support and visitation. M o l l y described: [M]y Dad was p a y i n g Mom c h i l d s u p p o r t and ahhh he s a i d , l i k e he t h o u g h t he was p a y i n g t o o much, he was r e a l l y s t i n g y about money, he l i k e h e ' s got t o n s o f money and l i k e , you know, l i k e t o n s o f houses and a l l t h i s b u t l i k e h e ' s j u s t , h e ' s r e a l l y r e a l l y w e i r d when i t ' s money and ummm he d i d n ' t want t o have t o pay t h a t much. So he would say l i k e i f we wanted t o come o v e r f o r weekends and d i n n e r and a l l t h a t t h e n we, h e ' d have - my Mom would have t o pay him b a c k some o f t h a t money. Yeh so ummmm I was j u s t l i k e hey , w e l l screw t h a t l i k e I j u s t won' t go o v e r t h e r e t h e n , t h a t ' s j u s t r i d i c u l o u s , i f l i k e w e ' r e h a v i n g t o pay t o see h i m , you know t h a t s o r t o f t h i n g ... so ... [ s n i f f s ] Within this description M o l l y describes how the family climate created after the parental divorce impacted the father - daughter relationship. The conflict around payment o f child support influenced M o l l y to choose not to spend time with her father. Moreover, her reconstruction of the motivation behind the conflict between her parents was damaging to her relationship with her father. For instance, M o l l y constructed the implication for her father's wish to pay less child support as meaning that she and her brother should have to pay to see him. A s a consequence M o l l y describes how she: 34 [ S ] t o p p e d g o i n g o v e r t h e r e i n l i k e [grade] 11 and i t was p r e t t y r o u g h , l i k e t h e r e was a c o u p l e o f y e a r s [ tha t ] were p r e t t y rough w i t h my r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h him and I d i d n ' t r e a l l y see him t h a t much. Thus, it is not whether the interactions happened this way that is important. What is important is the meaning M o l l y attributed to these events and the consequences they had to her actions, choices and her understanding of the relationship. Issues around child support and visitation were just one example o f the unique relational damage related to experiencing parental divorce. Events and interactions surrounding the management o f the father's new relationships also created relational damage. While neither of Josie's parents ever remarried or re-partnered, there was still evidence of relational damage occurring due to new relationships she thought her father was having. When asked i f there was anything else the interviewer should know about her current relationship with her father Josie added: I t h i n k t h a t a l o t o f t h e r e s e n t m e n t f o r my Dad i s t h e f a c t t h a t he c o n t i n u e s t o have t h e s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s and I know n o t h i n g about them and... he d o e s n ' t do a good j o b o f h i d i n g them a t a l l . Later Josie adds: L i k e t h e r e ' s j u s t so much s e c r e c y . [ I ] f I 'm w i t h h im sometimes he w i l l p u l l out h i s phone l o o k a t who's c a l l i n g , p r e s s s i l e n t and put i t back i n h i s p o c k e t ... I wou ld be u n c o m f o r t a b l e b e i n g w i t h anybody who would do t h a t f o r any r e a s o n . It is evident that Josie perceives there to be continual relational damage due to her father forming new relationships. Furthermore it is not just the existence of new relationships it is the lack of communication surrounding these relationships that lead her to construct these events as producing tension. M o l l y ' s account also provides evidence for the possible relational damage that can be done to the father - daughter relationship, when new relationships are formed. M o l l y ' s account suggests that as well as secrecy and a lack of communication, feeling excluded from the new 35 relationship can also cause relational damage. In her account, M o l l y describes the hurt felt when she and her brother were excluded from her father's wedding. When t h e y got m a r r i e d t h e y d i d n ' t [ i n v i t e ] us t o t h e w e d d i n g . T h a t was a b i g b i g moment t h a t s t u c k out i n my l i f e ... t h e y were t o g e t h e r f o r a w h i l e and t h e n t h e y . j u s t s o r t o f got m a r r i e d and had a l i t t l e wedd ing , w i t h t h e i r c l o s e f r i e n d s . And t h e y d i d n ' t i n v i t e us and we were j u s t so c h o k e d . Later M o l l y elaborated on how she felt: J u s t r e a l l y mad ... [and] k i n d o f c o n f u s e d ... t h e y a l r e a d y had t h e i r own l i t t l e l i f e t o g e t h e r and t h a t made i t even more l i k e t h e y were t h e i r own l i t t l e t h i n g and we w e r e n ' t p a r t o f i t , you know? Thus, M o l l y ' s account demonstrates how a lack of communication and exclusion from the new relationship damaged her relationship with her father. How nonresidential fathers manage intimate relationships is not highly regulated by norms and standards o f behaviours. They thus represent unique challenges for the post separation daughter - nonresidential father relationship. M o l l y and Josie's accounts provide evidence for previously identified types of relational damage, but also provide evidence for relational damage unique to the divorce process. Overall, Josie's account demonstrated continual relational damage occurring throughout her childhood and into the future through a lack of engagement in the relationship with her nonresidential father. Her accounts are full o f event descriptions that correspond with a lack o f spending time together, a lack of communication, and non-responsive behaviour. In contrast, M o l l y ' s account provides detailed description of interactions filled with conflict, unrealistically high expectations, and controlling behaviour that damaged her relationship with her father. Together these cases illustrate that throughout the transcripts the theme of relational damage previously established in existing literature, as wel l as damage directly related to the experiences surrounding the process of divorce, were present. 36 6.2 Relational Repair Along with accounts of relational damage, there were also accounts o f relational repair present. Relational repair has been conceptualized as an event, series o f events or interpretation of events described by the participant that repairs the parent - child relationship. Specifically, relational repair includes interactions and interpretations that make the relationship more positive by repairing damage or reducing tension (Harach & Kuczynski , 2005). Previous research has suggested that relational repair includes interactions such as apologizing and talking about relational damage or strain as well as expressing positive affect (Harach & Kuczynski , 2005). In order to explore the presence o f these processes within the collected sample, Cases 1 and 2 w i l l be utilized. Case 3 did not contain themes of relational repair, just as it did not contain themes o f relational damage. Again, it is important to note that Case 3 was an anomaly. The rest of the sample contained evidence of these themes. Josie's account demonstrates overt relational repair including apologizing and expressing positive affect. Apologizing and/or talking about relational damage is a common strategy for reducing tension in a relationship and making the relationship okay again. Josie described an event in which her father initiated discussion about some of the strain their relationship had sustained. I t h i n k my s i s t e r t o l d him t o t a l k t o me. Because i t seemed l i k e he d i d n ' t even r e a l l y want t o do i t , b e c a u s e i t was ... awkward a t f i r s t ... The M a l l was c l o s e d a t the t i m e and I remember we were s i t t i n g on a bench and ... he s a i d "Ohhh I t h i n k we need t o t a l k about w h a t ' s g o i n g on" and ... I t h o u g h t t o me i t sounded more l i k e e x c u s e s , you know l i k e "Oh me and y o u r Mom [-] we have o u r p r o b l e m s b u t i t d o e s n ' t have a n y t h i n g t o do w i t h y o u " , I 'm a l i t t l e t o o o l d f o r t h i s t a l k by t h i s p o i n t I t h i n k . R i g h t . A l i t t l e t o o l a t e l i k e I get t h a t . When probed about how she felt about the event, Josie elaborated: I t h o u g h t [ c h u c k l e s ] i t was u n n e c e s s a r y ... I t d i d n ' t change t h e way I f e l t . I w a s n ' t madder, [and] I w a s n ' t f o r g i v i n g him o r a n y t h i n g . 37 Although Josie's father attempted to discuss the relationship, Josie did not reciprocate. Josie's choice to not respond to her father's attempt to repair the relationship can be seen to be related to her interpretation of her father's motivation and timing in initiating repair. Josie questioned the genuineness and authenticity of her father's motivation for initiating the conversation suspecting that her sister had told him to do it. The timing of the event also contributed to Josie's non-responsiveness. Josie expressed the perspective that the attempt was inappropriate or too late. Due to Josie's concerns about the motivation and timing of the event, Josie did not respond to her father's attempt to reduce the tension within their relationship, thus highlighting the importance o f bidirectionality within parent - child relationships. It is not dependent on one member of a dyad to repair a relationship. Josie exerted agency within her relationship with her father by not responding to his attempt at repair. Relational repair can also be less explicit than apologizing or discussing the relational tension. Members of the dyad can also express positive affect in an attempt to make relationships normal or okay again. Positive affect includes showing emotion and affection. Josie describes from her perspective one of the strategies her father used to make up for the lack of contact and communication: W e l l , he w i l l l i k e show up one day ... w i t h b i g g i f t s . I remember one b i r t h d a y , when I was 10 i t was a b i g g e r d e a l but he got me l i k e a p e r s o n a l i z e d hockey j e r s e y ... and when my s i s t e r t u r n e d 16 he bought h e r a c a r . He bought my o t h e r s i s t e r a c a r and ... i f we go out s h o p p i n g one d a y , ... he w i l l a lways g i v e us a good amount o f money t o go s h o p - ... h e ' s l i k e "Here go s h o p p i n g " ... I t h i n k t h e g i f t s o r t o f ... t h e y make up f o r ... l i k e you know i t ' s h i s way o f t r y i n g t o do s o m e t h i n g . R i g h t ? Josie interprets her father's gifts as his way of expressing positive affect and making up for the lack of contact and communication which has caused damage to their relationship throughout the years. 38 Contrary to Josie, Mo l l y ' s account contained no overt action from either Mo l l y or her father to repair the damage that their relationship had sustained throughout the years. When asked about her current relationship with her father Mo l l y described: I t h i n k I ' v e j u s t s o r t o f a c c e p t e d what o u r r e l a t i o n s h i p i s and I 'm not g o i n g t o t r y - l i k e I go t o some g r e a t l e n g t h s t o make us b u d d i e s because we n e v e r w i l l b e . L i k e , i t ' s l i k e , you know sometimes l i k e you have a c o u s i n o r s o m e t h i n g and you guys a r e so d i f f e r e n t - a n d you d o n ' t get a l o n g r e a l l y t h a t w e l l wh ich means t h a t you s t i l l , you know, l o v e each o t h e r b e c a u s e y o u ' r e f a m i l y r i g h t . The way in which Mo l l y has constructed her narrative around her relationship with her father attempts to minimize the negativity and tension within the relationship. Mo l l y explains that she no longer is going to try and repair their relationship but instead has come to terms with the state of the relationship. Later Mo l l y elaborates on the changes she feels have occurred within the relationship: Yeh , I d o n ' t know ... i t , i t h a s n ' t r e a l l y changed t o o much l i k e I g u e s s , I guess i t ' s changed f o r t h e b e t t e r . I t ' s changed f o r t h e b e t t e r t h a t we j u s t w e ' r e b o t h s o r t o f l i k e OK w e l l , do y o u r own t h i n g a n d , you know. Mol ly hesitates, drawing upon a discursive stalling technique, she also minimizes the idea that she feels the relationship has changed for the better by repeating "I guess". It is through her reconstruction o f events that she attempts to make the relationship okay again for herself. Therefore, while relational repair has been previously found to manifest in apologies and expression of positive affect, Mo l l y illustrates how it can also be accomplished through creating changes in narratives and understandings of events. Possibility for future repair of the relationship was also evident throughout the transcripts. When asked what would need to be done to change the current relationship Mo l l y replied: He would have t o have some s o r t o f r e v e l a t i o n [ l aughs ] where ummm [ s n i f f s ] I d o n ' t know, he would get h i s p r i o r i t i e s t o t a l l y r e a r r a n g e d . L i k e r i g h t now h i s p r i o r i t i e s a r e l i k e money and s u c c e s s and ummm r e a l 39 e s t a t e [laughs] and ummm but ummmm Yeh, no, ummm I don't know ... He would j u s t have to see the world more the way I see i t , and I'm not saying that I see the world i n l i k e the best way p o s s i b l e or anything l i k e t h a t , I j u s t l i k e , we j u s t have to be more s i m i l a r , l i k e r i g h t now we're l i k e on opposite ends of the continuum, we're l i k e , we j u s t have to get c l o s e r together ... Thus, through this account it is clear that Molly sees relational repair as possible, just unlikely. By rearranging his priorities, Molly would see her father giving priority to the relationships he has with her and presumably her brother as well. Furthermore, there is no mention of either Molly or her father beginning to take any action or steps to create this metamorphosis. Overall, events and interpretations of events described by participants that repair the relationship by making the relationship okay again or reducing tension were present within the data. Josie's case illustrates attempts at apologizing and expressing positive affect to decrease tension within the relationship whereas Molly's case illustrates an absence of explicit relational repair and the possibility of repair for the future. Furthermore, Molly's case illustrates that relational repair not only occurs through action but also through a reinterpretation of events meaning. 6.3 Relat ional Maintenance Not only was there evidence for relational damage and repair, throughout the sample, there was also evidence of relational maintenance. Relational maintenance has been conceptualized as participant's account of an event, series of events or interpretations that can be seen to contribute to sustaining and continuing the relationship. Previous research has looked at relational maintenance as "actions and activities used to sustain desired relational definitions" (Vogl-Bauer, Kalbfleisch, & Beatty, 1999). Vogl-Bauer et al. (1999) suggest that in order to sustain these relational definitions both parents and children use communication strategies including: positive undertones, openness, networks and shared tasks. In the context of experiencing a parental divorce, other themes and concepts also become an important component 40 of relational maintenance. These include physical contact and the role o f the mother/ex-spouse and, where applicable, new partners. Previous research on nonresidential father and child relationships has focused on the importance of continued regular visitation (Amato & Gilbert, 1999). In the present study, however, physical contact did not necessarily lead to relational maintenance. M o l l y and Al l i son both described the contact they had with their fathers directly after the divorce as being consistent. For instance, M o l l y describes the contact that she had with her father as: [ P ] r e t t y s t e a d y l i k e ummm Yeh i t was v e r y l i k e l i v i n g out o f a bag t y p e t h i n g , i t was r e a l l y f r u s t r a t i n g h a v i n g t o a lways l i k e b r i n g what I 'm g o i n g t o wear nex t m o r n i n g t o s c h o o l you know o v e r t h e r e and h a v i n g a l l s e p a r a t e e v e r y t h i n g e l s e o t h e r t h e r e a n d , I d o n ' t know ... Ummm Y e h , so t h a t , Yeh t h a t d e f i n i t e l y happened c o n s i s t e n t l y . Al l i son also described the contact with her father as consistent on a day-to-day basis. [H]e a c t u a l l y found a p l a c e on t h e 1s t f l o o r . So my dad l i v e d on t h e 1s t f l o o r and I l i v e d on t h e 5 t h f l o o r u n t i l I was 15 o r s o . I was a lways ... l i k e my dad used t o ... p i c k me up f rom l i k e my p l a c e u p s t a i r s ... my dad u s e d t o t a k e me t o s c h o o l p i c k me up , I ' d go t o h i s p l a c e and ummm do my homework o v e r t h e r e ... I u sed t o e a t o v e r t h e r e and t h e n go back t o my p l a c e ... So i t was r e a l l y g r e a t ... i t was g r e a t t h a t t h e y were s h a r i n g ... While both M o l l y and Al l i son describe consistent contact with their fathers after divorce, aided by the close proximity between their parents' places of residence, experiencing consistent physical contact did not necessarily contribute to relational maintenance. Despite consistent physical contact, M o l l y does not interpret her relationship as sustaining desired relational definitions. Moreover, when probed about activities she and her brother would engage in when at their father's home M o l l y described controlling behaviour that lead to relational damage (see above discussion). Furthermore, when asked about what she and her father talk about M o l l y replied: We d o n ' t ! [ l aughs ] Ummm, l i k e f o r example l i k e when I t a l k t o h im on the phone l i k e I get n e r v o u s because I 'm l i k e i f t h e r e ' s a s i l e n c e I got t o know how t o f i l l i t . 41 Therefore, despite regular contact with her father there is a lack of evidence of relational maintenance in M o l l y ' s account. In contrast, Al l i son saw her father everyday after the divorce until her father moved away for work related reasons when Al l i son was in high school. After her father moved away Al l i son saw him about once a year. Al l i son described: [ I ] t was a change not h a v i n g my dad t h e r e and p r o b a b l y I d i d n ' t t a l k t o my dad as much on t h e phone and s t u f f . But my dad ... l i k e , he was t h e one who kept on c a l l i n g and i f i t was a week o r 2 t h e n h e ' d make s u r e t h a t t h i n g s were OK ... Despite the lack of physical closeness Al l ison 's account illustrated continual relational maintenance strategies including positive undertones and openness. Even though Al l i son does not have a lot of physical contact with her father she elaborated on the types of things that she and her father share: I t a l k t o him on t h e phone and s t u f f and I p i c k up h i s m a i l and I t e l l h im how t h i n g s a r e g o i n g b u t I t a l k t o my dad about how s c h o o l ' s f i n e , how my v o l u n t a r y work i s f i n e , how my mum's d o i n g ... so i t ' s l i k e a g e n e r a l r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h my dad I g u e s s . Thus Al l i son and her father engage in actions (through talk) and activities that sustain the relationship, despite a lack o f physical contact. Al l i son ' s case illustrates one o f the unique challenges facing the maintenance of relationships between nonresidential parents and their children. Woven into Al l i son ' s account of visitations was the role her mother played in facilitating these interactions. Previous literature has shown that the quality of visitation is influenced by the quality o f the ex-spouses relationship (Brody & Forehand, 1990). Al l i son ' s account illustrates how a non-conflictual post separation relationship between a child's parents can aid in the maintenance of the child's relationship with their nonresidential father. This is evident in Al l i son ' s description o f the visits her father made once he relocated: 42 [M]y dad used t o a l s o come and v i s i t and h e ' d s t a y on t h e c o u c h a t my p l a c e ... Here Al l ison 's reference to "my place" refers to the place of residence that she shared with her mother. A low conflict relationship between ex-spouses allowed Al l i son ' s mother to facilitate the father - daughter relationship. Al l i son recognized and acknowledged her parents' post separation relationship and the influence it had on her experience of divorce. [M]y p a r e n t s l i k e , I guess when t h e y s e p a r a t e d t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h each o t h e r became l i k e more s t a b l e ... l i k e my, my p a r e n t s s t i l l t o o k c a r e o f each o t h e r l i k e i f ... when my mum w a s n ' t f e e l i n g w e l l my dad used t o t a k e c a r e o f h e r and when my dad was g o i n g t h r o u g h a t o u g h t i m e she u s e d t o ask about h im as w e l l . So t h e y were a lways l i k e t h e r e f o r each o t h e r and t h e y a lways p u t me f i r s t even now ... l i k e I ... I c o u l d have had a v e r y t r a u m a t i c e x p e r i e n c e w i t h t h e s e p a r a t i o n b u t i t was t h e e a s i e s t t h i n g i n t h e w o r l d l i k e h a v i n g my p a r e n t s i n t h e same b u i l d i n g l i v i n g so c l o s e t o e a c h o t h e r ... ummm ... So t h a t was r e a l l y g r e a t f o r me. Furthermore, when the relationship between the ex-spouses is not conflicted it can provide a shared network, thus contributing to the maintenance of the relationship. For example, in the above excerpt Al l i son described her parents maintaining their relationship. A dense network is more stable (Allan, personal communication). In Al l i son ' s case, her mother expresses concern for her father and aids in relational maintenance by prioritizing Al l i son ' s relationship with her father. For example, when Al l i son was asked about the contact between herself and her father she described: [ I ] t ' s my dad who c a l l s me, and I t h i n k he d i d c a l l me t o d a y , and i t t a k e s me a w h i l e l i k e a day o r two t o c a l l my dad b a c k , and my mum's l i k e "Have you c a l l e d y o u r dad? Is he OK?" because she w o r r i e s t h a t s o m e t h i n g i s g o i n g t o happen t o him s i n c e h e ' s l i v i n g i n a p l a c e t h a t d o e s n ' t have many f a m i l y members. All ison 's account also illustrates the importance of shared networks. Shared networks are people who both the daughter and father know. B y Al l i son ' s parents maintaining positive undertones with each other, relational maintenance strategies are employed by Al l i son ' s mother. Al l ison 's 43 account highlights the importance o f the relationship of the ex-spouses, whereas, Josie's account illustrates the importance of other members o f the family. Josie's account illustrates how shared networks can bring families together, including the nonresidential father. Josie describes an event that brought her family together, despite unreliable day-to-day contact. [ I ] f I c a l l h im [-] see my D a d ' s r e a l l y s k e t c h y about a n s w e r i n g h i s phone , because he j u s t d o e s n ' t v e r y much. And ... b u t i f I c a l l h im and l e a v e a message t h a t I have an emergency h e ' d be t h e r e . L i k e one y e a r me and my Mom went t o C a l i f o r n i a , t h i s was when I was s t i l l i n H i g h S c h o o l , my s i s t e r was i n U n i v e r s i t y and she got i n a c a r a c c i d e n t . And my Dad came out b e f o r e we d i d . L i k e i t was a b i g one she t o t a l e d t h e c a r and a l l t h a t . So , you know, h e ' s t h e r e when you ... l i k e we r e a l l y , r e a l l y need h i m , b u t f o r l i t t l e t h i n g s h e ' s r e a l l y h a r d t o get a h o l d o f - and - he s t i l l d o e s n ' t c a l l r e g u l a r l y , u n l e s s he needs s o m e t h i n g . In Josie's account having a shared network can bring a family together. In this way, Josie's understanding of her father being there for emergencies maintains the connection between herself and her father. Within shared networks, step parents and siblings can also play a role. Earlier excerpts illustrated how new relationships can create relational tension between fathers and their children. Positive relationships between daughters and their father's new partners, however, can act as a buffer or a facilitator to father - daughter relationships. In M o l l y ' s account her relationship with her step-mother allowed her to maintain ties with her father. I r e a l l y d o n ' t have much o f a r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h im ... w i t h my S tep mom I t a l k t o h e r t o n s and I l e a r n e v e r y t h i n g t h r o u g h h e r b u t w i t h him l i k e I t a l k t o him once e v e r y c o u p l e o f months . M o l l y ' s account also illustrates how having positive interaction with step parents can facilitate relational maintenance through shared networks and the activities those individuals do together. Y e h . We a l t e r n a t e C h r i s t m a s e s and a c t u a l l y C h r i s t m a s i s t h e one t i m e when i t ' s l i k e ummm I f e e l l i k e i t ' s ... l i k e when we go w i t h my Dad we a l l ge t a l o n g p r e t t y w e l l , l i k e we a l l k i n d o f l i k e make an e f f o r t t o , you know, f e i g n t h a t w e ' r e a happy f a m i l y and you know, b e c a u s e my s t e p mom works r e a l l y h a r d t o do us a r e a l l y n i c e C h r i s t m a s and s t o c k i n g s s t i l l and e v e r y t h i n g ... 44 In this way the efforts of M o l l y ' s step mother are a mode of relational maintenance between M o l l y and her father. Overall, themes of relational maintenance were present within the participants' accounts. Events and interpretation of events used to sustain desired or understood relational definitions (Vogl-Bauer et al. 1999) included themes of physical contact and communication and the role o f the mother/ex-spouse and new partners. M o l l y ' s account illustrates how consistent contact did not necessarily lead to relational maintenance and how step parents can facilitate relational maintenance. Josie's account illustrates how shared networks can contribute to relational maintenance. A n d lastly, Al l i son ' s case illustrates how even when consistent physical visitations are disrupted alternative relational maintenance strategies maybe implemented. Al l i son ' s case also illustrates the benefit o f low conflict post separation relationships between ex-spouses. 6.4 Summary These three cases demonstrate the diversity of interactions, events, and interpretations present within the gathered relational history which contributed to adult daughters' current understandings of their relationships with their fathers. In Josie's case there was a change from describing the pre separation father - daughter relationship as close to a gradual disengagement where the current relationship is interpreted as unreliable. From Josie's account, we can see that through a series of events, which she interprets as causing relational damage, Josie's current understanding of her relationship has developed. Future anticipated interactions also influence current understandings o f the relationship. Josie describes how she is not sure i f she wants her father to walk her down the aisle at her wedding. Thus, through past experiences and future anticipated interactions Josie's current understanding of her relationship with her father as unreliable and sporadic can be understood. 45 In contrast, in M o l l y ' s case, there is a degree of stability. While M o l l y describes that she "guesses the relationship has gotten better" there is contradicting evidence that suggests that she is not happy with the relationship. Unlike Josie and Al l i son , M o l l y described the pre divorce relationship between herself and her father as being "not great". Thus, when she described many accounts of relational damage we begin to understand why M o l l y interprets the relationship as not being great. Furthermore, in accounts of relational repair and maintenance it is through either a reconstruction of events or other family members, respectively, that she continues to have a relationship with her father. M o l l y also anticipates that the relationship w i l l remain in its current state. Therefore, through gathering the relational history we can see how her past experiences and future anticipating interactions work together to sustain her current understanding of their relationship. Lastly, Al l i son ' s account demonstrates stability in the type of interactions, and thus her understanding o f her relationship, with her father before the separation and after the separation. Al l ison 's account of her relationship with her father before the divorce contains evidence for her interpretation o f her father as an actively engaged parent. Furthermore, throughout her interview Al l i son draws upon no discourses of events that she interprets as relational damage or consequentially relational repair. From All ison 's account, the relational history contains only evidence of continual relational maintenance. Moreover, even when her father had to relocate for work, Al l i son describes relational maintenance strategies that were supported by both her mother and her father. Thus, from Al l i son ' s account there is evidence of stability within her interpreted interactions which contribute to her current understanding o f her relationship with her father. 46 Overall, within the sample, illustrated through the three cases presented, findings indicate that participants drew upon accounts of their past interactions and future anticipated interactions to construct their understandings o f their current relationships with their nonresidential fathers. Based on the conceptual framework, past expectations and future anticipated interactions are constructed through interactions which can be conceptualized as relational damage, repair and maintenance. It is through a shared history of these interactions that parent - child relationships are continually constructed. Furthermore, it is how each individual within the dyad interprets and reconstructs interactions that is of importance since it is through the process of attaching meaning to events that these events are remembered and used to construct current understandings. Therefore, having gathered a relational history of shared interactions allows for an understanding of the processes o f relational construction from the adult child's perspective. 47 7 CONCLUSIONS While the analysis suggests the presence o f themes o f relational damage, repair and maintenance that are consistent with the model outlined by Lol l i s and Kuzynski (1997), the question is whether the information gathered is helpful and insightful for understanding adult daughters' current views o f their relationships with their nonresidential fathers. It is important to note that this is an exploratory study. It is not fully a test o f the model, but an exploration into the potential usefulness of the conceptual framework for understanding post separation parent -child relationships. A s is usually the case with models the model highlights certain aspects and sensitizes the researcher to specific processes while at the same time underemphasizing or leaving out others. This is the source of both the model's central strengths and weaknesses. The model emphasizes the interpretive development of parent - child relationships, thus illuminating processes o f bidirectionality, agency and power within both micro interactions and macro relationships. The conceptual model provides the researcher with a framework to guide data collection and analysis. In this sense, the strength of the model is the way in which it helps the researcher frame the entire research process, from the questions asked in the interview to the analysis of the accounts gathered. Gaining an understanding of the interpretive nature of processes involved in the construction o f parent - child relationships is useful for a variety of reasons. Illuminating the interpretive nature of processes of bidirectionality, power, and agency is helpful because it allows for an exploration of the thought processes of adult children, highlighting the role of the "thinking child". Both adult children's thought processes and their role as the "thinking chi ld" have previously received limited attention in the divorce and parent - child literature. Previous researchers, however, have called for future research to examine adult children's perspectives of 48 both the processes surrounding parental divorce (e.g., Boney, 2003; Fabricius, 2003) and the construction of their relationships with their parents (Kuczynski & Daly, 2003; Lol l i s & Kuczynski , 1997). Through utilizing the conceptual model the researcher was sensitized to these processes and able to locate them within the data. In particular, by exploring adult daughters' thought processes in the present study, the framework provided a way of understanding how adult daughters attached meaning to interactions and how they incorporated these meanings into their understandings o f their current relationships with their nonresidential fathers. B y emphasizing these processes the model helped the researcher identify and understand the interpretive nature and processes involved in the construction of post separation parent - child relationships. Not only is this a strength of employing the conceptual model, it is also a strength of the findings. Findings from the present study begin to f i l l the gap in existing research on the "thinking chi ld" by providing insight into the adult child's cognitions and agency in the process of parental divorce and the construction o f relationships. Specifically, in the divorce research, the findings add to the ever-growing literature examining various aspects of divorce from the adult child's perspective (e.g., Arditt i , 1999; Cartwright, 2006; Radina, 2001; Shulman, Scharf, Lumer, & Mauer, 2001). Furthermore, it highlights that the processes o f relational construction are not specific to the post separation parent - child relationship. It is the context within which these relational processes happen that differs. Thus, since all parent - child relationships experience relationship construction it becomes even clearer that post separation parent - child relationships need to be examined without a deficit framework being applied. Another strength of the model is the notion that parent - child relationships are continually constructed throughout the life course. The idea that relationships develop and 49 continue to develop is useful because it provides a deeper understanding of the parent - child relationship. These relationships form from infancy. They therefore have a relational history that contributes to their future and present interactions with each other. Thus, i f the goal is to understand the current state of these relationships it is essential to have a way of looking at the entire relational history, particularly the parts deemed important by the interviewee. The model is also helpful in looking specifically at post separation parent - child relationships. Previous research has suggested that changes in familial arrangements, such as divorce, make ambivalence and the renegotiation of relationships more apparent (Connidis, 2004). Because of the complexity o f current interactions and understandings o f relationships, the model enables us to look at the coexistence of positive and negative interactions. The model allows us to look at the coexistence of these contradictory interactions because it emphasizes thought processes and the depth and complexity of parent - child relationships. For example, the adult daughters in this study could describe many instances of relational damage, and at the same time describe many instances of relational repair and maintenance. Thus, the model allows for the exploration of the ways in which adult daughters perceive the relationship to change and experience continuity before, during and after parental divorce. While there are strengths to employing the outlined model there are also some weaknesses. These weaknesses relate to processes that are underemphasized by the conceptual model, including the family and cultural environment in which parent - child relationships are situated. In the model there is not an explicit way to deal with influences from other family members. For example, in the findings adult daughters drew upon accounts of interactions that involved other family members and family rituals that contributed to relationship construction. The original model does not incorporate these forces. While the original model outlined in 50 Figure 1 (pg. 12), displays different contexts within which the relationship develops, these contexts are geared towards a specific developmental phase o f the child, specifically young childhood. This may be related to the origins of the development o f the model. In particular, the model has been predominantly utilized by researchers interested in parent - child relationships earlier in the child's life course. Furthermore, not only does the model underemphasize the familial environment, it also fails to incorporate the broader culture within which parent - child relationships develop. For example, the model does not include the ways in which cultural norms and discourses surrounding family, parenting and specifically fathering influence the relationship. However, other parent - child researchers have begun to address the familial and cultural context within which parent - child relationships develop (e.g., Trommsdorff & Kornadt, 2003). Thus, in order to extrapolate the model and apply it to exploring adult child - parent relationships as well as post separation relationships, adjustments may need to be made to take into account the familial and cultural contexts within which these relationships develop over time. In particular, the changing climate of divorce may affect the development of these relationships through each individual's interpretations of events. While there may be limitations to the model it can also be questioned whether the way in which the model was operationalized in the present study adequately reflected the theoretical concepts of the model and the model as a whole. In particular, questions can be raised about the status of the adult daughters' accounts of their relational histories. Specifically, do the accounts gathered provide sufficient evidence of their relational histories with their nonresidential fathers? O f course it is impossible to observe the past, but it would be possible to interview fathers. However, this study was on adult daughters' understandings. Thus, though the present study 51 does not observe interactions between the adult daughter - father dyad, this does not affect the ability of the researcher to create explanations about the daughter's current understandings of her relationship with her nonresidential father. What has been gathered are accounts of what adult daughters remember of their relational histories. This is appropriate as it is the daughters' interpretations of events that are of interest because it is through the perceived recollections that the daughters create their current expectations, anticipations and dynamics in their interactions. This point of view is consistent with the model's reconstruction, interpretive perspective. Therefore, what is of concern is not whether the adult daughters remember and are reporting events exactly as they happened, it is what may be absent from the interviews that may be problematic. Through the interview it is impossible to gather the entire relational history. Thus, the gathered relational histories are a product of what the participants remember and what they were asked in the interview. This may be problematic because what one remembers or labels as important to disclose in the interview may be unusual events instead of ordinary day-to-day activities. This may become increasingly evident when you take into consideration the context of the interview process and the interviewee's anticipated expectation of producing a "good story" for the interviewer. In this sense, there may be a danger of the unusual becoming extraordinary and the usual becoming perceived as unimportant and unreported. In the accounts gathered, it appears that the interviewee's did disclose day-to-day activities. However, it is impossible to be sure that the ordinary was not under reported or left out altogether. Moreover, we cannot be sure how cultural discourses about divorce (e.g., a deficit perspective) influenced what the interviewees thought the interviewer wanted to know. 52 While there are limitations to the model, it is difficult for any model to address all aspects of relationship development. Despite limitations, the model proved to be a useful tool for analyzing the material gathered and understanding the post separation parent - child relationship. As future research begins to delve into the importance of the bidirectional and interpretive nature of relationship development between parents and children over the life course, employing the model outlined by Lollis and Kuzynski (1997) offers a helpful and insightful way of thinking about the continual construction of these relationships. These are complex relationships that need to be understood within the context of the specific dyad. Without the biographical history of the parent - child relationship researchers could be missing valuable contextual information. Thus, future research would benefit from continuing to employ a relational perspective for exploring adult daughters' current relationships with their nonresidential fathers. Overall, the nonresidential father - adult daughter relationship will continue to be of interest to researchers, practitioners, and families who have or are experiencing parental divorce. Although the face of Canadian family life is ever-changing (Beaujot, 1990), the importance of parent - child relationships to our past, present and future is immense. Parent - child relationships influence all spheres of our lives. While experiencing a divorce may permanently rearrange these relationships, change in itself is not inherently good or bad. 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Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. 60 Struss, M . , Pfeiffer, C , Preuss, U . , & Wilhelm, F . (2001). Adolescents from divorce families and their perceptions o f visitation arrangements and factors influencing parent-child contact. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 35, 75 The Vanier Institute of the Family. (2004). Profiling Canada's families 111. Ottawa, O N : Sauve, R. Trommsdorff, G . , & Kornadt, H . (2003). Parent-child relations in cross-cultural perspectives. In L . Kuczynski (Ed.), Handbook of dynamics in parent-child relations (pp. 271-306). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc. Vogl-Bauer, S., Kalbfleisch, P.J., & Beatty, M . (1999). Perceived equity, satisfaction, and relational maintenance strategies in parent-adolescent dyads. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 28, 27-49. Wallerstein, J.S. (1987). Children of divorce: Report of a ten-year follow-up o f early latency age children. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 57, 199-211. Wallerstein, J.S. (1991). The long-term effects of divorce on children: A review. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 30, 349-360. Wallerstein, J.S., & Kel ly , J .B. (1980). Surviving the breakup: How children and parents cope with divorce. N e w York: Basic. Z i l l , N . , Morrison, D.R. , & Coiro, M . J . (1993). Long-term effects o f parental divorce on parent-child relationships, adjustment, and achievement in young adulthood. Journal of Family Psychology, 7, 91-103. 61 Appendix C : Interview Guide Following the genogram, the interview w i l l continue in a semi-structured format. The following questions have been generated from a pilot interview conducted earlier. A s is consistent with a grounded theory approach, the interview guide w i l l be adjusted as interviews are collected to reflect the evolving nature of the research project. Example of Questions: 1. From your perspective, can you please describe your parent's divorce and/or separation and the events surrounding that time in your life? 2. H o w would you describe your relationship with your father before the divorce? 3. What kind or type of contact did you have with your dad throughout and after the divorce/separation. 4. Thinking about when you were in high school, what type of contact did you have with your father? 5. Could you please describe for me how holidays and birthdays were negotiated in your family after your parents separated? 6. From your perspective, can you describe the relationship between your mom and dad before, throughout, and after the divorce process? 7. Can you describe the relationship that you have with your mom? 8. How would you describe the relationship that you have with your step parents? 9. From your perspective, can you describe the relationship between your other siblings and your dad? 10. How would you describe your current relationship with your father? 11. From your perspective, how do you think your relationship has changed? 12. When you look into the future, what do you see for your relationship with your father? 13. A s a final question, is there anything that you feel we have not covered in the interview that you feel I should know? 65 

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