Marital Outcomes and Attachment in Children of Divorce Versus Children of Intact Families

Julirae Gunter Castleton, Walden University

Abstract

Previous studies have investigated many aspects of the lives of children of divorce, including delinquency, emotional aspects, and attachment; however, they have not investigated the patterns of marital partnership formation and persistence among children of divorce who were raised in long-term blended families versus children of other types of families. Based on attachment theory, this study compared adult children from 4 family types: children of divorce raised in (a) long-term blended families, (b) single parent families postdivorce, (c) serial matrimony families postdivorce, and (d) children raised in intact families. A quantitative, causal-comparative, ex post facto survey design was employed with a convenience sample of 674 adults 18 to 99 years of age. The family types were compared on attachment patterns using the Experiences in Close Relationships-Relationship Structures scale and on marital outcomes obtained using a demographic questionnaire. Results indicated that children of divorce raised in both serial matrimony and blended families are significantly more likely to be insecurely attached to their parents. Children of these 2 family types are also significantly more likely to divorce. The implications of these research findings may help educate parents and mental health practitioners regarding the different experiences that children of divorce experience in terms of attachment that can mitigate the effects of divorce and other difficulties that children of divorce may have in their later relationships.