Parental Divorce During Early Adolescence in Caucasian Families: The Role of Family Process Variables in Predicting the Long-Term Consequences for Early Adult Psychosocial Adjustment

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Abstract

The relationship between parental divorce occurring during adolescence and young adult psychosocial adjustment was examined, as was the role of family process variables in clarifying this relationship. Participants were young Caucasian adults from divorced (n = 119) and married (n = 123) families. Assessments were conducted during adolescence and 6 years later during early adulthood. Young adults from married families reported more secure romantic attachments than those from divorced families; however, differences were not evident in other domains of psychosocial adjustment after demographic variables were controlled. Three family process variables (parent–adolescent relationship, interparental conflict, and maternal depressive symptoms) were examined as potential mediators and moderators of the association between parental divorce and young adult adjustment. No evidence supporting mediation or moderation was found; however, the parent–adolescent and parent–young adult relationships, particularly when the identified parent was the father, emerged as significant predictors of young adult psychosocial adjustment.

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