In Memoriam: Constance Ahrons, 1937-2021

Constance Ahrons, emeritus professor of sociology in the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California, died late last year after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of lymphoma. She was 84 years old.

A native of Brooklyn, Dr. Ahrons grew up in Somerville, New Jersey, where her immigrant parents operated an appliance store. She enrolled in what is now Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania, but dropped out after marrying and having a child. Eight years later, she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Upsala College in East Orange, New Jersey.

After a divorce, she earned a master of social work degree and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She then taught at the School of Social Work at the university and married a professor who taught there. That marriage, too, ended in divorce. Dr. Ahrons then joined the faculty at the University of Southern California in 1984. A dozen years later, she was named the director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Training Program at the university.

Dr. Ahrons was perhaps best known for her book The Good Divorce: Keeping Your Family Together When Your Marriage Comes Apart (HarperCollins, 1994). In the book, Dr. Ahrons wrote “the good divorce is not an oxymoron. A good divorce is one in which both the adults and children emerge at least as emotionally well as they were before the divorce.” She continued the research and published We’re Still Family: What Grown Children Have to Say About Their Parents’ Divorce (Harper, 2004), in which she studied how grown children viewed their parents’ divorce. The adult children she interviewed for this book were the same children of the divorced parents she had studied 20 years earlier.

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