Title page for ETD etd-05182010-140329

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author McElhaney, Sarah Jeanette
URN etd-05182010-140329
Title Adolescents' Perceptions of the Relationships with their Parents in the Context of Parental Military Deployment: A Systems Theory Perspective
Degree Master of Science
Department Human Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Huebner, Angela J. Committee Chair
Falconier, Mariana K. Committee Member
Wittenborn, Andrea K. Committee Member
  • Parent-Adolescent Relationship
  • Role
  • Communication
  • Adjustment
Date of Defense 2010-05-05
Availability restricted
This study sought to explore how adolescents’ relationships with both of their parents changed over the course of parental military deployment. Participants were 9 adolescents, 12-13 years old, that participated in a focus group. Family systems theory was the guiding lens for qualitative data analysis, which included constant comparative and open and axial coding. Two dominant patterns emerged: 1) process that promoted relationship closeness and 2) process that promoted relationship distance. Processes that promoted relationship closeness included clear communication, connectedness with the at-home parent, togetherness, and flexibility of roles. Processes that promoted relationship distance included restricted communication, at-home parent disengagement, deployed parent disconnectedness and lack of role shifting. Findings suggest processes evident in adolescent relationships with their parents during deployment indicative of adjustment outcomes. Clinical implications and future research are discussed.
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