Nontraditional Families and Relationship Success

Recent decades have seen a broadening of the definition of family in society at large, but the influence of family structure on offspring is yet to be fully understood. In a new study published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, data from 313 emerging adults, all in couples, were used to examine indirect associations between family structure and emerging adults’ expectations of current relationship success through their attitudes toward cohabitation, nonmarital childbearing stigma, and current relationship quality. Results of path analyses revealed that emerging adults from nontraditional families demonstrated positive attitudes toward cohabitation. Acceptance of cohabitation was related to less support of the idea that having a child outside of marriage is stigmatizing. For its part, tolerance toward nonmarital childbearing was associated with higher relationship quality. Finally, emerging adults who reported greater union quality also demonstrated higher expectations of current relationship success. In summary, results indicated that emerging adults who were more accepting of nontraditional family forms, in part because they were coming from such families, reported that they are faring better in their relationships. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

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