Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 411–423 | Cite as

Romantic Relationships in Young Adulthood: Parental Divorce, Parent-child Relationships during Adolescence, and Gender

  • Sun-A LeeEmail author
Original Paper


The current study aimed to examine the role of parent-child relationships during adolescence as a mediator between earlier parental divorce and children's romantic relationships in emerging adulthood. In addition, the study aimed to examine how this proposed mediation model would work differently among the four dyads of parent-child based on their gender (e.g., father-daughter vs. mother-son). The data for this study came from a 22-year 9-wave investigated longitudinal study, which began when the participants were in the sixth grade. The study was designed to investigate transitions during adolescence and young adulthood. Analyses for the current study were based on waves 6 and 8. At Wave 6, participants were in 12th grade and at Wave 8, participants were approximately 24 years old. The sample for the current study was 520 (female = 311 and male = 209) from 'always-married' and 154 (female = 107 and male = 47) from 'divorced' families. In order to examine the mediation model for each female and male adolescents, multi-group confirmatory factor analysis (MGCFA) was tested using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) - LISREL Version 8.80. The results showed that there was no overall direct mediation model; however, the mediation model worked differently for the four dyads of parent-child. For example, it was found that there was an indirect effect of parental divorce through relationships with fathers on daughters' romantic relationships but not for sons. Implications, limitations, and future research recommendations are discussed.


Parental divorce Parent-adolescent relationships Gender Romantic Relationships in young adulthood 


Author Contributions

This paper is from the author's dissertation which can be accessed from

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standard of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki-declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standard. IRB for the study was approved by the University of Arizona.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10826_2018_1284_MOESM1_ESM.docx (26 kb)
Supplementary Information


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Child & Family StudiesUniversity of Louisiana, LafayetteLafayetteUSA

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