This chapter describes a study that assessed whether the events of adult children's leaving and returning home, by themselves, affected the overall well-being of fathers, their family life satisfaction, the frequency of reported psychosomatic complaints, and their personal feelings about their child's leaving. Data were collected by mailed questionnaires from a two-State, stratified random sampling of 325 fathers living in Indiana and Michigan. Results provide support for Hill's A-B-C-X model of family stress, which suggests that it is the perception of the stressor event that determines if a family event will be experienced as stressful. For fathers who reported one or more adult children having left home within the last 2 years, the stressor events by themselves were not significantly related to any indicators of fathers' stress. However, if the child's leaving home was interpreted or defined by the father as distressing, the stressor event was significantly related to his negative feelings about the child's leaving home, his related psychosomatic complaints, and his lower sense of well-being. Practice and policy implications of these findings for family interventionists are discussed. 27 references, 1 figure, and 2 tables. (Author abstract modified)
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