Postdivorce living arrangements, parent conflict, and long-term physical health correlates for children of divorce

Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Journal of Family Psychology (Impact Factor: 1.89). 07/2007; 21(2):195-205. DOI: 10.1037/0893-3200.21.2.195
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The authors tested a biopsychosocial model in which young adults' long-term relationships with fathers and ongoing distress surrounding their parents' divorces mediated the relationship between disrupted parenting (i.e., exposure to parent conflict before the divorce and up to 5 years after, and amount of time with father postdivorce) and indicators of their physical health. University students whose parents divorced before they were 16 (n = 266) participated. Findings supported the model. The more time children lived with their fathers after divorce, the better their current relationships were with their fathers, independent of parent conflict. The more parent conflict they experienced, the worse their relationships were with their fathers and the more distress they currently felt about their parents' divorce, independent of time with father. Poor father-child relationships and more distress in turn predicted poorer health status. There was no interaction between exposure to parent conflict and time with father; thus, more time with father was beneficial in both high- and low-conflict families, and more exposure to parent conflict was detrimental at both high and low levels of time with father.

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