Social cognitive mediators and relational outcomes associated with parental divorce

Chris Segrin, Melissa E. Taylor, Julie Altman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


People exposed to parental divorce experience a number of relational and attitudinal effects. One such effect, the inter-generational transmission of divorce, involves a greater risk for divorce among those adult children whose parents were divorced. Social cognitive theory would explain many of the outcomes of parental divorce as inhibitory or disinhibitory effects learned through vicarious experience. Predictions from social cognitive theory were tested on a community-based sample of 821 adults. Results replicated the intergenerational transmission of divorce as well as higher family conflict, more negative attitudes toward marriage, greater likelihood of marriage to a previously divorced person, and a decreased likelihood of currently being in a close relationship as a function of parental divorce. Either family-of-origin conflict or negative marital attitudes mediated many of these effects. In other words, it is not parental divorce that is entirely responsible for certain relational and attitudinal effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-377
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Communication skills
  • Divorce
  • Family conflict
  • Intergenerational transmission
  • Relationship efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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