This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Quality or Quantity: Which is More Important for Adult Child-Parent Relationships?




Voigt, Natasha

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Human Development and Family Studies


The purpose of this study was to explore, in a community sample, the association between quality and quantity of parent-adult child interactions and parents’ ratings of parent-adult child relationship quality. Additionally, this study also evaluated the moderating influence of race on these associations. The sample of 434 participants was racially and economically diverse (43% minority; 67% made less than $75,000) and included mothers (N = 227) and fathers (N = 207) with children at least 19 years of age. Measures of frequency of interactions, positivity of interactions, negativity of interactions, parental involvement, and parental consulting about romantic relationships were utilized, along with ratings of relationship quality, to evaluate the associations between aspects of parent-adult child interactions and parents’ reports of relationship quality, and how race impacts these associations. Results from multiple regression analyses indicate positivity of interactions was the most potent predictor of relationship quality for both mothers and fathers. Negativity of interactions and frequency of interactions were also associated with mother and father-adult child relationship quality ratings. Moderation analyses indicate parental involvement, although not a unique predictor in the direct links model, is an important predictor for minority fathers’ reports of relationship quality. Additionally, positivity of interactions is especially important for minority fathers’ relationship quality with their adult children. These findings provide initial guidance for prevention and intervention programs, as it gives a focus on what to emphasize for parents and subgroups of parents in order to positively influence overall parent-adult child relationship quality.