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Explaining the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce

Paul R. Amato
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 58, No. 3 (Aug., 1996), pp. 628-640
DOI: 10.2307/353723
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353723
Page Count: 13
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Explaining the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce
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Abstract

This study uses national longitudinal data to explain the intergenerational transmission of divorce. Parental divorce is associated with an increased risk of offspring divorce, especially when wives or both spouses have experienced the dissolution of their parents' marriage. Offspring age at marriage, cohabitation, socioeconomic attainment, and prodivorce attitudes mediate modest proportions of the estimated effect of parental divorce. In contrast, a measure of interpersonal behavior problems mediates the largest share of the association. The findings suggest that parental divorce elevates the risk of offspring divorce by increasing the likelihood that offspring exhibit behaviors that interfere with the maintenance of mutually rewarding intimate relationships.

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