Pre-Divorce Factors Related to Post-Divorce Father-Child Relationship Quality

Mindy E. Scott, Pennsylvania State University
Alan Booth, Pennsylvania State University

Pre-divorce antecedents of change and stability in father-adolescent closeness following parental divorce were investigated using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Heath (Add Health). Examination of patterns of stability and change revealed that some relationships increased in closeness (16%), one third remained the same, and the majority (51%) of relationships declined. Parental marital quality, mother-adolescent affect, involvement in peer group activities, dislike of school, and a sense of well being predict post-divorce father-adolescent closeness. The overall pattern is that offspring with strong family and extra-familial ties, along with a robust sense of well-being, report a decline in father-adolescent closeness. On the other hand, those not doing as well with respect to these dimensions are more likely to report maintaining or increasing father-adolescent closeness. Adolescents with fewer social and individual resources may be motivated to overcome the barriers that result from a father’s departure to maintain or improve relationships with their fathers.

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Presented in Session 93: Family Influences on Child Well Being