Effects of Parental Divorce on Marital Commitment and Confidence Previous research on the transmission of divorce across generations showed that children of divorced parents tend to develop adverse perceptions toward marriage and express lower levels of optimism towards the possibility of strong and lifelong marriage. This gave rise to the assumption of lower commitment and confidence of the offspring, who are also involved in relationships in adulthood, of divorced parents.
However, no studies have substantiated this assumption. The study investigated the causal relationship of parental divorce and retrospective inter-parental conflict with relationship commitment and confidence of offspring.
Based on the longitudinal study in the context of relationship education, 265 engaged couples who are set to marry for the first time, participated in the relationship education by answering questionnaires involving ratings of the degree of parental conflict, commitment inventory and commitment scale.
Analysis of tabulated data utilized means, standard deviation, and simple correlation. The results of the study showed that for couples set for their first marriage, women partners with divorced parents expressed lesser commitment to the relationship and lower confidence in the success of the future marriage.
This supports the results of previous studies indicating lower degree of commitment to marriage, of individuals with divorced parents and strongly so in the case of women.
Daughters of divorced parents tend to exhibit uncertainties about committing to their partners, not only to the institutional but also to the lifelong concept of marriage. Daughters of divorced parents also exhibited lower confidence in making their future marriage last. Concurrently, the relationship is not so for sons of divorced parents.
The outcomes of the study means that divorce is transmitted across generations, especially in the case of daughters of divorced parents with recall of intra-parental conflict strongly influencing their low level of commitment to the relationship and confidence in having a strong and lifelong marriage, which in turn fuel the risk of divorce.
Whitton, S. W. , Rhoades, G. K. , Stanley, S. M. , & Markman, H. J. (2008). Effects of parental divorce on marital commitment and confidence. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(5), 789-793.