Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Human Development and Family Science


Sara Vasilenko


Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood, Parental Separation, Romantic Relationship Quality


Abstract Parental separation can impact multiple aspects of an individual’s life, including romantic relationship satisfaction (Amato, 2010). Albert Bandura’s social learning theory suggests that children model their behavior based on their parents’ example, which means those whose parents separate may adopt similar relationship practices that lead to their eventual separation with their romantic partner– this could contribute to the pattern of divorce being more common in those whose parents’ divorced (Amato & Deboer, 2001; Bandura, 1977; Ross & Mirowsky, 1999). It is important to interrupt this pattern to prevent the cycle of negative impacts of parental divorce on children being continued from generation to generation (Markman, 1981). One way to interrupt this cycle could be to focus on the impacts of parental separation on romantic relationship quality. This study aims to address the gap in the literature regarding the impacts of divorce on adolescents and emerging adults by investigating the connections between parental separation and relationship quality using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) data. Data from a 2,205 participant subsample from Add Health were used in linear regressions to understand the relationship between parental separation and relationship quality, and gender was introduced into the regression in the second step of the analysis. Similar to existing literature, a significant association was found between parental separation and lower relationship quality levels, however, in contrast to existing studies, the interaction between parental separation and gender was not significant. Further research is needed to solidify these findings.


Open Access



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