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Melvin Stephens

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

Publication Abstract

Cunningham, Jr., Mick H., and Arland Thornton. 2006. "The Influence of Parents' Marital Quality on Adult Children's Attitudes Toward Marriage and Its Alternatives: Main and Moderating Effects." Demography, 43(4): 659-672.

Drawing on a panel study of parents and children, we investigate linkages between parents' marital quality and adult children's attitudes toward a range of family 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.

DOI:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2008.02.006 (Full Text)

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