Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Angie Mandich


Parental divorce affects adolescents’ emotions, routines, habits, occupations and relationships. The current body of research indicates that parental divorce leads to many unfavourable social, behavioural, and mental health outcomes for adolescents. This dissertation explores the daily lives and occupations of adolescents and young adults surrounding the transition of a parental divorce or marital separation.

This thesis contains four manuscripts in addition to the introductory and final reflection chapters. The first manuscript explores the current North American literature relating to adolescent life surrounding a parental divorce or marital separation, ranging form 1998 to 2014. The second manuscript provides an overview of visual methodologies allowing for a deeper understanding of the utility of visual methodologies within the field of occupational science. The third manuscript presents the findings of a critical narrative exploration regarding adolescent life surrounding parental divorce or separation. The third manuscript describes a study that is analyzed using an occupational science lens and explores the themes brought forward by the participants. These findings are compared to the current available literature presented in the first manuscript. The final manuscript presents a study that utilizes a visual methodological approach to explore participants’ created visual messages about their experiences of parental divorce or separation. Participants were invited to address their messages to an audience of their choice with the hopes of helping future adolescents experiencing parental divorce navigate the transition and coping processes.

This thesis contributes new knowledge to the growing body of information regarding adolescent life surrounding the transitions related to a parental divorce. It has expanded the limited research that approaches the topic from the frameworks of qualitative research, critical inquiry, asset-based research, and participatory approaches. It also uniquely explores the concept of human occupation as it relates to transition and coping surrounding a parental divorce or separation. This work has implications for the future methodologies and research questions for studies exploring adolescent and young adult life, occupations, and transitions surrounding a parental divorce or marital separation.

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