This is a study about how parent-child relationships evolve post-divorce, focusing on the question of what factors influence how parent-child relationships change after divorce. A lot of research explores how parenting has historically been shaped by gender. However, current research finds that fathers are taking on greater roles in their children’s lives than they ever have before (Perry-Jenkins and Gerstel 2020). Through 10 in-depth interviews with college students at a small liberal arts college in the Northeast, I examined how parent-child relationships through a divorce are shaped by gendered parenting norms. I found that parents who take on the role of being the primary caretaker of their child (usually the mother) both emotionally and physically in their child’s youth, both before the divorce, and directly after the divorce, establish deep bonds with their children that the secondary caretaker (overwhelmingly the father) never establishes. Although mothers get the benefit of a deeper connection with their child, this socialization also has drawbacks as mothers face discrimination in the workplace, creating a smaller income which is further exacerbated when they go through divorce, as well as facing detrimental effects on their health due to this workplace/homemaker tension (Brüggmann and Kreyenfeld 2023; Collins 2020).

Type of Work

Thesis - Limited Access

Department or Program



Hamilton College


Bachelor of Arts

Date of Graduation


Faculty Advisor

Mahala Stewart

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.