Late-life divorce and familyhood interplaying: a familial and dyadic perspective

Chaya Koren, Yafit Cohen, Michal Egert, Naor Demeter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Late-life divorce is a growing phenomenon in the Western world, likely to expand due to increasing expectancy and changes in marital and family values. However, existing research on divorce and its consequences for offspring focuses on young and middle-aged adults, analysing individual rather than familial/dyadic perspectives. Accordingly, our study employs a holistic perspective on the family unit following late-life divorce which is especially relevant to societies that value familism as an essential element in individuals’ lives. Coincidingly, the term familyhood expresses an atmosphere of closeness and unity among family members and is a commonly used expression in Israel. Using family systems as a framework, our aim was to examine how, if at all, familyhood is experienced after divorce considering how it was experienced prior to divorce from a long-term marriage in Israel. Semi-structured, in-depth qualitative interviews (N = 72) were conducted separately with divorcees aged 60–81 who divorced at age 56–68 (N = 44), and with their adult children aged 19–40 at the time of their parents’ divorce (N = 28). Interviews were given thematic analysis and dyadic qualitative analysis. The findings reveal the meaningfulness of familyhood following late-life divorce via a fourfold typology of familyhood continuity/change experienced as present or lacking, before or after divorce. The typology addresses key elements of when, where, by whom and how familyhood is reconstructed, along with strategies to maintain familyhood. Paradoxes inherent in the intersection of divorce and familyhood, discussed within the Israeli sociocultural context, are located between self-determination and familism. Implications are presented.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAgeing and Society
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2024.


  • adult children
  • family
  • family systems
  • familyhood
  • late-life divorce
  • older adults
  • qualitative method
  • typology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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