This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Examination of the Differences in Marital Expectations of Young Adults from Intact and Divorced Families




Hunt, Brittany

Type of Degree



Human Development and Family Studies


Prior research has been unclear about the effects parental divorce has on the attitudes toward marriage of young adults. This study aimed to clarify this past research by utilizing a more clearly defined sample to determine if there are statistically significant differences between their attitudes toward marriage based upon whether their parents divorced or not and/or the amount of conflict in their primary custodial home growing up. Additionally, within the divorced sample, this study examines conflict in parents relationship before the divorce, conflict in custodial situation after the divorce, conflict in parents relationship post divorce and age at time of divorce to determine which of these variables is most important in explaining the variance, in divorced families reported attitudes toward marriage? This sample consisted of 441 college students enrolled in introductory courses at a large southern university. Two regressions were conducted. The findings revealed that although students of divorce did have more negative attitudes toward marriage than students from intact families, it was the level of primary custodial home conflict that accounted for those differences. These results can be interpreted as saying that whether parental figures have the ability to solve conflict with a partner is more important in affecting children’s marital attitudes than whether or not parent’s stayed married.