Adult children's relationships with married parents, divorced parents, and stepparents: biology, marriage or residence?

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Abstract

The author compared the strength of the relationships that adult children have with different types of parents: biological parents who remained married, stepparents, and biological parents who divorced. He analyzed Dutch life history data containing detailed measures of living arrangements and used multilevel models to make comparisons both between and within children (N = 4,454). The results revealed large differences in the strength of ties across parent types, but these were strongly reduced when differences in the length of shared residence during childhood were taken into account. Nonetheless, even after differences in investment opportunities were considered, there were negative effects of divorce and positive effects of biological relatedness. The “marriage protection” effect was stronger, especially for fathers, than the biological relatedness effect, pointing to the primacy of marriage over biology for parent–child relations in adulthood. Keywords: divorce; intergenerational relationships; life history; marriage; stepfamilies
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1181-1193
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Volume75
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • SSCI

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