How childhood circumstances moderate the long-term impact of divorce on father-child relationships

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Using retrospective survey data collected in the Netherlands in 2012, the author examined how childhood circumstances moderate the effect of an early parental divorce on relationships between fathers and adult children. Using adult children's reports about the frequency of contact and the quality of the relationship, he found strong negative effects of parental divorce. These effects are moderated by 3 childhood conditions. The more fathers were involved in childrearing during marriage, the less negative the divorce effect on father–child relationships. Father's resources also moderated the effect, with a smaller divorce effect for more highly educated fathers. Finally, high levels of interparental conflict reduce the impact of divorce as well, generalizing the stress relief effect to a new outcome. In general, the study shows that the impact of divorce is heterogeneous; that childhood circumstances play an important role in this; and that, under specific conditions, there is virtually no negative effect of parental divorce.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)921-938
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • SSCI
  • divorce
  • education
  • fatherhood
  • gender roles
  • intergenerational relationships
  • parent involvement


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