Stresses on Fathers and Family Relationships Related to Rural Youth Leaving and Returning Home


s: fathers, leaving home, returning home, rural youth, stress.


This longitudinal study of 724 rural families in nine central states investigates the potential effects of young adult children's leaving and returning home upon midlife rural fathers and their family relationships. As expected, only a minority of the rural fathers report distress or unhappiness over either the leaving home or returning home of a young adult child. However, when only the youngest children's leaving is considered, the farm fathers are significantly lower than the rural/nonfarm fathers on indicators of individual well-being and on marital and family satisfaction. More than twice as many farm fathers report distress and feeling bad when the child who left is the youngest child. On the other hand, the returning of adult children to the farm home may be a "mixed blessing" to farm fathers. Several implications of the findings are suggested for family interventionists who work with farm and other rural families.

Original Publication Citation

Lewis, R. A., Volk, R. J., & Duncan, S. F. (1989). Stresses on fathers and family relationships related to rural youth leaving and returning home. Family Relations, 38, 174-181.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Family Relations




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor