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Keywords:

  • divorced families;
  • intact families;
  • intergenerational transmission of divorce;
  • young adults

Parental divorce is thought to affect the romantic relationships of young adults, especially with respect to their certainty about the relationship and perceptions of problems in it. We examined these connections with a random sample of 464 coupled partners. Compared with women from intact families, women from divorced families reported less trust and satisfaction, but more ambivalence and conflict. For men, perceptions of relationships were contingent on the marital status of their partners' parents, although men from intact and divorced families did differ on structural constraints that affect commitment. Young adults who were casually dating showed the strongest effects of parental divorce, suggesting that the repercussions of parental divorce may be in place before the young adults form their own romantic relationships.