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Parental Divorce, Marital Conflict, and Offspring Well-being during Early Adulthood

Paul R. Amato, Laura Spencer Loomis and Alan Booth
Social Forces
Vol. 73, No. 3 (Mar., 1995), pp. 895-915
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2580551
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2580551
Page Count: 21
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Parental Divorce, Marital Conflict, and Offspring Well-being during Early Adulthood
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Abstract

Cross-sectional studies show that adults who grew up in conflict-ridden two-parent families or who experienced parental divorce report lower levels of psychological and marital well-being than do other adults. However, previous research has been unable to determine how parental marital conflict, divorce, and children's long-term outcomes are related. Using a 12-year longitudinal study, we find that the consequences of parental divorce depend on parental marital conflict prior to divorce. In high-conflict families, children have higher levels of well-being as young adults if their parents divorced than if they stayed together. But in low-conflict families, children have higher levels of wellbeing if their parents stayed together than if they divorced. In marriages that do not end in divorce, parental marital conflict is negatively associated with the well-being of offspring.

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