Adult children more likely to be estranged from dad than mom, study shows: Estrangement overall is fairly common, national study finds

Adult children are over four times more likely to be estranged from their fathers than their mothers, a new long-term national study found.

The research showed that 6% of adult children in the study reported a period of estrangement from their mothers, compared to 26% who said they were estranged from their fathers.

But for most adult children, the estrangement is only temporary — 81% of estrangements with mothers end, as do 69% of those with fathers.

This study, one of the few that has examined national trends over time, suggests that adult children’s relationships with their parents may be more complicated — and less permanent — than often assumed, said Rin Reczek, lead author of the study and professor of sociology at The Ohio State University.

“One of the messages from this study is that estrangement between adult children and their parents is fairly common, especially with fathers,” Reczek said. “But these estrangements tend to end eventually.”

Reczek conducted the study with Lawrence Stacey, a graduate student at Ohio State, and Mieke Beth Thomeer of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Their results were published recently in the Journal of Marriage and Family.

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