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A Prospective Study of Divorce and Parent-Child Relationships

Paul R. Amato and Alan Booth
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 58, No. 2 (May, 1996), pp. 356-365
DOI: 10.2307/353501
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353501
Page Count: 10
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A Prospective Study of Divorce and Parent-Child Relationships
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Abstract

This study used national longitudinal data to examine parent-child relationships before and after parental divorce. Parents' reports of problems in their relationships with children were significantly elevated as early as 8 to 12 years prior to divorce. Low quality in the parents' marriage largely accounted for these associations. Early problems in the parent-child relationship and low quality in the parents' marriage when children were 10 years old (on average) predicted low parental affection for children when they were 18 years old (on average). Divorce further eroded affection between fathers and children, but not between mothers and children. These findings suggest that the quality of the parents' marriage has both direct and indirect long-term consequences for parent-child affection.

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