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The Influence of Parents' Marital Quality on Adult Children's Attitudes toward Marriage and Its Alternatives: Main and Moderating Effects

Mick Cunningham and Arland Thornton
Demography
Vol. 43, No. 4 (Nov., 2006), pp. 659-672
Published by: Springer on behalf of the Population Association of America
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4137211
Page Count: 14
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The Influence of Parents' Marital Quality on Adult Children's Attitudes toward Marriage and Its Alternatives: Main and Moderating Effects
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Abstract

Drawing on a panel study of parents and children, we investigate linkages between parents' marital quality and adult children's attitudes toward a range offamily issues, including premarital sex, cohabitation, lifelong singlehood, and divorce. We hypothesize that parents' marital quality will be negatively related to children's support for these behaviors in adulthood and that parents' marital quality will condition the intergenerational transmission of attitudes toward these issues. We find some evidence that parents' marital quality influences children's support for divorce and premarital sex. More important, our analyses show that parents' marital quality facilitates the intergenerational transmission of attitudes. Parents 'attitudes toward premarital sex, cohabitation, and being single are more strongly linked to those same attitudes among their young adult children when parents' marital quality is high than when it is low.

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