In this article, we use a phenomenology framework to explore emerging adults' formative experiences of family stress. Fourteen college students participated in a qualitative interview about their experience of family stress. We analyzed the interviews using the empirical phenomenological psychology method. Participants described a variety of family stressors, including parental conflict and divorce, physical or mental illness, and emotional or sexual abuse by a family member. Two general types of parallel processes were essential to the experience of family stress for participants. First, the family stressor was experienced in shifts and progressions reflecting the young person's attempts to manage the stressor, and second, these shifts and progressions were interdependent with deeply personal psychological meanings of self, sociality, physical and emotional expression, agency, place, space, project, and discourse. We describe each of these parallel processes and their subprocesses, and conclude with implications for mental health practice and research.
- lived experience
- stress / distress
- young adults
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health