10:00pm Thursday 12 December 2019

Family estrangement: adult children asked for their experiences

Dr Kylie Agllias is beginning part two of a research project investigating the impacts on individuals and families of rifts and estrangement.

Dr Agllias will work with people aged over 30 who are estranged from at least one parent, to try to find why their relationships are broken and how the adult children are affected.

“The first phase of this project focused on people aged 60 and over who were estranged from an adult child,” Dr Agllias said.

“The second phase is seeking the perspective of adult children, to develop a more holistic understanding of family conflict.”

Around one in 25 adults has stopped contact with at least one family member for months or years.

Dr Agllias’ earlier research found that estrangement was not an uncommon experience in families, was not always resolvable, and potentially affected the entire intergenerational family system.

The research also found that many parents experienced family estrangement as a significant and traumatic loss.

“For older people, that loss was reactivated at family get-togethers, and on particular days such as birthdays and Christmas,” Dr Agllias said.

“Many hid their estrangement from others and became quite isolated by the experience.

“This is an important area of research because it is such a common occurrence. To help those suffering the negative effects of estrangement, it needs to be better understood.”

For more information about being involved in the study contact 02 4921 7035 or email Kylie.Agllias@newcastle.edu.au

Media contact: Kylie Agllias on 02 4921 7035 or 0407 367 503.

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