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The effect of parental divorce on young adults' romantic relationship dissolution: What makes a difference?

Authors

  • MING CUI,

    Corresponding author
    1. The Florida State University
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    • Ming Cui and Jared A. Durtschi, Department of Family and Child Sciences, The Florida State University. Frank D. Fincham, Family Institute, The Florida State University.

  • FRANK D. FINCHAM,

    1. The Florida State University
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Ming Cui and Jared A. Durtschi, Department of Family and Child Sciences, The Florida State University. Frank D. Fincham, Family Institute, The Florida State University.

  • JARED A. DURTSCHI

    1. The Florida State University
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Ming Cui and Jared A. Durtschi, Department of Family and Child Sciences, The Florida State University. Frank D. Fincham, Family Institute, The Florida State University.


  • This study was made possible by Grant 90FE0022/01 from the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families awarded to the second author.

Ming Cui, Department of Family and Child Sciences, 216 Sandels Building, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, e-mail: mcui@fsu.edu.

Abstract

It was proposed that parental divorce does not have a uniform effect on young adults' romantic relationships and that differential outcomes depend on how young adults perceive their parents' divorce. Using a sample of 571 young adults, structural equation modeling suggested that, compared with those from intact families, young adults whose parents divorced held a more favorable attitude toward divorce. A positive attitude toward divorce was associated with lower commitment to their romantic relationship, which in turn affected its dissolution. More importantly, young adults' perception of parental divorce varied depending on interparental conflict and parents' marital quality before the divorce. The variation in the perception of interparental divorce was linked to relationship dissolution via attitude toward divorce and relationship commitment.

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