Main Article Content
This study conceptualized family launching processes and investigated the reactions of Israeli parents to the conscription of their eldest son into the army, an event normatively initiating launching in the Israeli family. On the basis of family life cycle and adult developmental theory, parents’ reactions were conceptualized in terms of two major launching-related tendencies: Holding, and Releasing. A specially constructed Holding/Releasing Questionnaire (HRQ), was administered to 160 couples whose eldest son had been serving in the army for 20 months or less. Results showed no correlation between Holding and Releasing, suggesting two independent and complementary forces in the launching process. Releasing was generally adopted more strongly than Holding, mothers being higher on Holding than fathers. Both Holding and Releasing correlated negatively with education, and holding also correlated negatively with personal well-being. The relationships between the HRQ and country of origin, attitudes and relevant past experience, revealed certain gender differences. Findings are discussed in light of launching processes, family theory and developmental interpretations of this major transition in the adult and family life cycle, with reference to the specific cultural context as well as to more general implications.