Relationships between fathers and adult children: the cumulative effects of divorce and repartnering

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New data from a national Dutch survey are used to examine the effects of divorce and repartnering on the relationships that fathers have with their adult children. Compared with divorced fathers who live alone, repartnered fathers have less frequent contact with their children, they exchange less support with them, and the quality of the relationship is poorer. Divorce and repartnering thus have cumulative negative effects. These findings primarily apply when the divorce occurred when the child was young. Interpretations are given in terms of the reduced need for support that fathers have when they have a new spouse, the problems children may have with a stepmother, and the tendency of fathers to shift their investments to a new family after divorce (“swapping families”). Indirect evidence especially supports the “swapping families” hypothesis although the principle of need plays a role as well. Keywords: remarriage, intergenerational, divorce/separation, father-child relationship, life course
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-759
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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