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    Sons and mothers: new insight into the end of active motherhood in the ‘Age of Austerity’

    Thackeray, L.A. and Brooks-Gordon, Belinda (2013) Sons and mothers: new insight into the end of active motherhood in the ‘Age of Austerity’. Journal of Adult Development 20 (3), pp. 113-125. ISSN 1068-0667.

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    True independence is difficult for young adults to achieve by leaving home due to economic austerity and contemporary expectation. Such extended dependence has, however, been little studied. Midlife mothers were interviewed to explore their experience of having their adult sons live at home. The interviews were analysed using Grounded Theory (Strauss and Corbin in Basics of qualitative research: grounded theory procedures and techniques. Sage, Newbury Park, CA, 1990). The essence of the mothers’ (n = 5) experience was captured in the core category, Coming to Terms and Entering a New Phase. This category integrates the three-stage model of process that occurred as mothers accepted that their maternal role was changing and they needed to prepare for the next stage of their lives. The three stages were represented by the subcategories, Shifting Role, Anticipating Loss and Letting Go. The women believed that their sons would not be able to leave home until they could purchase a property, a distant prospect for many. The findings extend the work of previous lifespan models, including that of Apter (Secret paths: women in the new midlife. W. W. Norton, New York, 1995) but with greater depth and clarity, in a vital and changed contemporary context that is likely to be relevant for a large population of women.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Mothers, Sons, Extended parenting, Austerity, Mid-life
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2018 14:56
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:40


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