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The implications of high-conflict divorce on adult–children: five factors related to well-being

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divorce, adult-children, interparental conflict, well-being, family

Abstract (summary)

Offspring of divorce are generally more vulnerable to negative mental health outcomes than counterparts of intact marriages. However, not all cases of divorce are equivalent. The present study aimed to contribute to divorce literature by investigating the role of interparental conflict during the divorce process on offspring well-being. A convenience sample of 144 adult undergraduates from divorced families completed questionnaires pertaining to perceptions of interparental conflict and psychological well-being, interpersonal competence, irrational beliefs, materialistic orientations, and emotion dysregulation. Perceptions of interparental conflict during divorce positively correlated with irrational thinking and emotion dysregulation, and negatively correlated with psychological well-being and interpersonal competence. A MANOVA revealed that participants' perceptions of interparental conflict had significant predictive power on all factors of interest except materialism. In the model, interparental conflict had the greatest effect on emotion dysregulation. Participants with perceptions of high interparental conflict had greater impairments in all variables (except materialism, which was non-significant) compared to the low perception group. They also presented greater impairment in interpersonal competence, emotion regulation, and rational thinking than the medium perception group. Overall, the results suggest interparental conflict during divorce is relevant to offspring outcomes, perhaps particularly within emotion regulation.

Publication Information

Radetzki, P. A., Deleurme, K. A., & Rogers, S. M. (2021) The implications of high-conflict divorce on adult–children: Five factors related to well-being, Journal of Family Studies, 28:3, 801-821, DOI:


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