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Marriages and psychological distress among adult offspring of divorce: A Norwegian study


Ingunn Størksen, Senter for Atferdsforskning, Universitetet i Stavanger, Norway. Tel: + 47 5183 2900 / + 47 5183 2934 / + 47 918 47 157; e-mail:;


The study compares the likelihood of getting married and of getting divorced among the adult offspring of divorced parents versus the adult offspring of parents who remain married (total N = 37,230). It also compares levels of psychological distress in the two groups (total N= 22,898). Data derive from The Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT) and population registries from Norway. Individuals with divorced parents tended to delay marriage or not marry at all. However, among those who married, there were more divorces among the offspring of divorced parents than among offspring of parents who were still married. Offspring of divorce tended to marry other offspring of divorce. These marriages were at especially high risk of dissolution. Parental divorce was particularly influential as a risk factor during the first years of marriage. Both parental divorce and the individuals’ own divorce were risk factors for psychological distress.