J Korean Acad Adult Nurs.  2005 Dec;17(5):719-731.

A Grounded Theory Approach on the Parting Experience of Korean Middle-aged Women with their Children

  • 1College of Nursing Science, Ewha Womans University, Korea. ssj1119@ewha.ac.kr
  • 2Graduate School of Nursing Science, Ewha Womans University, Korea.
  • 3Graduate School of Social Welfare, Ewha Womans university, Korea.


This research was conducted to explore the experience of middle-aged women parting with their children and to develop a grounded theory. METHOD: The participants were 11 women in their 50's who had experienced parting with their children due to schooling, military service and marriage. The grounded theory methodology based on symbolic interactionism was used. RESULTS: 106 concepts, 30 subcategories and 14 categories were derived from the analysis through processes of open coding, axial coding and selective coding. The central phenomenon was 'happy but sad' and the core category was a process of 'independence that is sorrowful yet delightful'. Four types were identified; the independent-type; submissive -type; family-reliant-type ; and fragile-type; based on the attachment to the child, state of mind, satisfaction of the situation, family support system and self-achievement. CONCLUSION: This research identified that the modern Korean middle-aged women who are considered to be the 'sandwich generation' since they have experienced a turbulent history and the change from a confucian parent-child lifestyle to a couple-oriented one, moved away from an attitude dependent on children in parting with them and started preparing for an independent late life. Based on the results, the verification research is advised on the variables that affect the experience of parting with children.


Middle-aged women; Grounded theory; Parting

MeSH Terms

Clinical Coding
Life Style
Military Personnel
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