Conflict or Divorce? Does Parental Conflict and/or Divorce Increase Adult Children’s Rates of Cohabiting and Marital Dissolution?

Constance T. Gager, Montclair State University
Miriam R. Linver, Montclair State University

Although previous research documents that children of divorce are more prone to divorce, recent work has argued that it may not be the divorce per se, but rather the conflict that preceded the divorce that is important. In this paper we examine the intergenerational transmission parental conflict and divorce to their adult children. Specifically, we examine whether children who experience parental conflict, divorce and single parenthood have higher rates of cohabiting or marital breakups as adults compared to children from low conflict and/or intact families. Our examination improves upon past research by using a three wave longitudinal data set. We measure how the tenor of parental relationships prior to a divorce, as well as divorce affect adult children’s relationship outcomes. We extend previous research on the effect of parental discord and divorce on adult children’s likelihood of divorce to cohabiting dissolution rates.

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Presented in Poster Session 6