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Later Life Parental Divorce and Widowhood: Impact on Young Adults' Assessment of Parent-Child Relations

William S. Aquilino
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 56, No. 4 (Nov., 1994), pp. 908-922
DOI: 10.2307/353602
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353602
Page Count: 15
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Later Life Parental Divorce and Widowhood: Impact on Young Adults' Assessment of Parent-Child Relations
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Abstract

The implications of later life parental divorce and widowhood for relations between parents and young adult children are explored in a sample of 3,281 young adults who grew up in intact families. Family disruption that occurred after children were grown had sizable effects on parent-adult child relations. Later life parental divorce lowered relationship quality and contact between adult children and parents. The effects were stronger for father-child than for mother-child relations, and stronger for father-daughter than for father-son relations. Widowhood had negative effects on father-child but not on mother-child relations. Effects of later life marital dissolution on help exchange and financial assistance differed by sex of child and parent. Divorce disrupted parent-son more than parent-daughter support exchange. Death of the same-sex parent had stronger effects on parent-child support exchange than did death of the opposite-sex parent.

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