Parental Predivorce Relations and Offspring Postdivorce Well-Being



This 2-part study uses national longitudinal interview data from parents and their adult children to examine the way in which predivorce marital conflict influences the impact of divorce on children. In the 1st study, we find that the dissolution of low-conflict marriages appears to have negative effects on offspring's lives, whereas the dissolution of high-conflict marriages appears to have beneficial effects. The dissolution of low-conflict marriages is associated with the quality of children's intimate relationships, social support from friends and relatives, and general psychological well-being. The 2nd study considers how parents in low-conflict marriages that end in divorce differ from other parents before divorce. We find that low-conflict parents who divorce are less integrated into the community, have fewer impediments to divorce, have more favorable attitudes toward divorce, are more predisposed to engage in risky behavior, and are less likely to have experienced a parental divorce.