Conflict Or Divorce? Does Parental Conflict and/or Divorce Increase the Likelihood of Adult Children’s Cohabiting and Marital Dissolution?

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The short- and long-term effects of family structure on child well-being remains a hotly contested area among both researchers and policymakers. Although previous research documents that children of divorce are more prone to divorce themselves, much of this research has been plagued by multiple data and analytic problems. A second problematic issue relates to whether it is the divorce per se that leads to increased divorce or rather the conflict that may precede the divorce. In this article we examine whether children who experience parental conflict and/or divorce are more likely to experience a cohabiting breakup or divorce as adults compared with children from low conflict and/or intact families. Our examination improves on past research by using a three-wave longitudinal data set and by controlling for predivorce family characteristics, including the conflict between parents before divorce. We extend previous research on the effect of parental conflict and divorce on adult children's likelihood of divorce by also examining the likelihood of a cohabiting dissolution.



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