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Empty nest refers to the home environment once children have matured and left to make their way in the world, but also includes the concept of them returning Empty nest syndrome is a general feeling of depression and loneliness that parents/other guardian relatives feel when one or more of their children leave home. While more common in women, it can happen to both sexes. The marriage of a child can lead to similar feelings, with the role and influence of the parents often becoming less important compared to the new spouse.

A strong maternal or paternal bond between the parent and child can make the condition worse. The role of the parent while the child is still living with them is more hands-on and immediate than is possible when they have moved out, particularly if the distance means that visits are difficult.

Social and cultural factorsEdit

Empty nest syndrome has become more prevalent in modern times, as the extended family is becoming less common than in past generations, and the elderly are left living by themselves.

In many cultures, such as those in Africa, India, Middle Eastern and East Asia, one's elderly parents were held in very high esteem and it was considered almost a duty to care for and respect them. In contrast to most Western societies, extended families were common in those places. However, nowadays, even in these countries, as cities become more Westernized and industrialized, values are gradually changing. It is sometimes rather inconvenient or impractical to live with or care extensively for one's parents in a modern setting. This is also true if these relatives were abusive or otherwise repressive. Empty Nest Syndrome is starting to surface in some of those nations as well, where traditional values come in conflict with Westernization. This has been especially the case for Hong Kong. [1].

Myth or reality?Edit

Some scholars dispute empty nest syndrome, claiming it is a myth.[1] They claim that many parents are happy when their children move out of the home, and may feel a sense of accomplishment when they graduate into college. Their marriages may improve and they are able to spend more time with each other.

TreatmentEdit

It is usual for time to be freed up when a child moves out, especially if there are no siblings left in the house. It is usually advised that the parent or parents should find new activities and distractions to take up some of this time. However, some depressions can become very severe and the person should seek professional help.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  • Aquilino, W. S. (1991). Predicting parents' experiences with coresident adult children: Journal of Family Issues Vol 12(3) Sep 1991, 323-342.
  • Aquilino, W. S. (1996). The returning adult child and parental experience at midlife. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
  • Arp, D. H., Arp, C. S., Stanley, S. M., Markman, H. J., & Blumberg, S. L. (2000). Fighting for your empty nest marriage: Reinventing your relationship when the kids leave home. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Beecher, E. (2003). Youth in Transition: Housing, Employment, Social Policies and Families in France and Spain. Book review: Journal of Family Studies Vol 9(1) Apr 2003, 119-120.
  • Bridges, C. J. (1990). Cohesion, adaptability, communication, satisfaction and characteristics of families with adult children living at home: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Brunhofer, M. O. K. (1996). Family living arrangements and marital satisfaction in couples with young adult children. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering.
  • Chambers, H. E. (1993). Ego mastery style and gender identity in 43 to 53 year old, pre- and post-empty nest men: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Christofi, V. (2004). Returning home and leaving again: A phenomenological investigation of a sojourner's experience (Cyprus). Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering.
  • Cole, C. L., & Cole, A. L. (1999). Boundary ambiguities that bind former spouses together after the children leave home in post-divorce families: Family Relations Vol 48(3) Jul 1999, 271-272.
  • Dennerstein, L., Dudley, E., & Guthrie, J. (2002). Empty nest or revolving door? A prospective study of women's quality of life in midlife during the phase of children leaving and re-entering the home: Psychological Medicine Vol 32(3) Apr 2002, 545-550.
  • DeVries, H. M. (1991). Launching the children: Gender differences in parents' appraisals of a family transition: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • French, L. M. (1992). The relationship between life satisfaction and individuation in homemakers in the empty nest stage: Developmental opportunities in the second half of life: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Goldscheider, F., & Goldscheider, C. (1999). The changing transition to adulthood: Leaving and returning home. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
  • Gonzalez, P. C. (1990). Ego development and ego identity in mothers at mid-life: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Hagen, J. D., & DeVries, H. M. (2004). Marital satisfaction at the empty-nest phase of the family life cycle: A longitudinal study: Marriage & Family: A Christian Journal Vol 7(1) 2004, 83-98.
  • He, Z.-Q., & Cao, Z.-P. (2006). Analyses of Quality of Life and its Influential Factors of Empty Nest Elderly in Hunan Rural Areas: Chinese Journal of Clinical Psychology Vol 14(5) Oct 2006, 532-534.
  • Hibbard, K. M. (2001). Attachment and marital adjustment across time. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering.
  • Hobdy, J. (2000). The role of individuation processes in the launching of children into adulthood. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering.
  • Hyde, A. (1999). Matrilocality and female power: Single mothers in extended households: Women's Studies International Forum Vol 22(6) Nov-Dec 1999, 597-605.
  • Jezek, K. K. (1994). The meaning of launching a child: Women's midlife as context for transition. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Koc, I. (2007). The timing of leaving the parental home and its linkages to other life course events in Turkey: Marriage & Family Review Vol 42(1) 2007, 29-47.
  • Lauer, J. C., & Lauer, R. H. (1999). How to survive and thrive in an empty nest. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
  • Lewis, R. A., & Duncan, S. F. (1990). How fathers respond when their youth leave and return home: Prevention in Human Services Vol 9(1) 1990, 223-234.
  • McCullough, P. G., & Rutenberg, S. K. (1988). Launching children and moving on. New York, NY: Gardner Press.
  • Noriko, S. (2004). Identity Development of Pre- and Post-Empty Nest Women: Japanese Journal of Developmental Psychology Vol 15(1) Apr 2004, 52-64.
  • Owen, C. J. (2005). The empty nest transition: The relationship between attachment style and women's use of this period as a time for growth and change. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering.
  • Pryor, J. (1999). Waiting until they leave home: The experiences of young adults whose parents separate: Journal of Divorce & Remarriage Vol 32(1-2) 1999, 47-61.
  • Richang, Z., Na, F., & Headey, B. (2005). Pet Dogs' Effects on the Health and Life Satisfaction of Empty Nester's Parents: Psychological Science (China) Vol 28(6) Nov 2005, 1297-1300.
  • Rosen, E., Ackerman, L., & Zosky, D. (2002). The sibling empty nest syndrome: The experience of sadness as siblings leave the family home: Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment Vol 6(1) 2002, 65-80.
  • Schaninger, C. M., & Lee, D. H. (2002). A new full-nest classification approach: Psychology & Marketing Vol 19(1) Jan 2002, 25-58.
  • Segatto, B., & Di Filippo, L. (2003). Relational style and emotions in the empty nest and/or retired couples: Eta Evolutiva No 74(1) 2003, 5-20.
  • Simpson, M. J. (1996). Life as experienced in not-so-empty-nest households: A social constructionist inquiry. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering.
  • Small, M. (1991). The process of leaving home: Mothers' perspectives on their children's emancipation: Dissertation Abstracts International.
  • Smith, K. R., & Moen, P. (1988). Passage through midlife: Women's changing family roles and economic well-being: Sociological Quarterly Vol 29(4) Win 1988, 503-524.
  • Steiner, J. M. (1994). A comparison of families of adult offspring with a developmental disability living at home and those with offspring living in the community. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering.
  • Stogner, C. D. (1997). Perceived children's characteristics and other factors relating to parents' psychological well-being in midlife. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Stowe, G. P. (2004). The impact of meaningful roles and role partners on the experiences of culture shock and reverse culture shock. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering.
  • Tucker, P., & Aron, A. (1993). Passionate love and marital satisfaction at key transition points in the family life cycle: Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology Vol 12(2) Sum 1993, 135-147.
  • Veevers, J. E., Gee, E. M., & Wister, A. V. (1996). Homeleaving age norms: Conflict or consensus? : International Journal of Aging & Human Development Vol 43(4) 1996, 277-295.
  • White, L., & Edwards, J. N. (1990). Emptying the nest and parental well-being: An analysis of national panel data: American Sociological Review Vol 55(2) Apr 1990, 235-242.
  • White, L., & Lacy, N. (1997). The effects of age at home leaving and pathways from home on educational attainment: Journal of Marriage & the Family Vol 59(4) Nov 1997, 982-995.
  • Wojciechowska, L. (2007). The theory of well-being in developmental research on the family: The well-being of parents in the empty nest stage: Polish Psychological Bulletin Vol 38(3) 2007, 166-174.


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