Jaded or Rejuvenated: Comparing Young Adult Perceptions of Marriage from Divorced and Intact Homes
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Professional Studies
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This study explores the connections between the dynamics and quality of parental marital relationships and the resulting dynamics, quality, and expectations that young adults have towards their own intimate relationships. Both a pilot and follow-up study were conducted. In order to be eligible, participants had to be 18 years or older and have parents who were either married or divorced. The pilot study had 67 participants, the follow-up study had 94. Participants were asked to provide their parents’ marital status as well as rate their level of conflict between parents. Participants also responded to the Romantic Beliefs Scale, Dyadic Trust Scale, and Family Attitudes Scale in both studies. In addition, participants were asked to provide answers to open-ended questions regarding their beliefs on how they were influenced by their parents’ marriage and divorce. The results suggest that adults from divorced homes or homes fraught with conflict have less romanticized, more realistic, views of marriage. They also demonstrate an understanding of what can go wrong in a marital relationship and a willingness to work harder in their own marriages.