Young adult romantic relationships: the role of parents' marital problems and relationship efficacy

Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2008 Sep;34(9):1226-35. doi: 10.1177/0146167208319693. Epub 2008 Jun 17.


This study examined the link between parental divorce and marital conflict and young adult romantic relationships, and it tested whether offspring efficacy beliefs and conflict mediate this association. Young adults (N=358) provided data at three time points each separated by 7-week intervals. Results from structural equation modeling demonstrated that (a) parents' marital conflict, rather than parental divorce, was associated with offspring conflict behavior; (b) relationship efficacy mediated this association; and (c) conflict behavior, in turn, mediated the association between efficacy beliefs and the quality of offspring romantic relationships. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for understanding the impact of parents' marital problems on romantic relationships in young adulthood. Their implications for preventive interventions and future research are also outlined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult Children / psychology*
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Courtship / psychology*
  • Culture
  • Divorce / psychology*
  • Family Conflict / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Love*
  • Male
  • Object Attachment
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Young Adult