Does Adolescent Age Moderate the Effects of Mothers and Fathers on Young Adults’ Romantic Relationships?
Miriam R. Linver, Montclair State University
Constance T. Gager, Montclair State University
Major demographic shifts, including the postponement of marriage and first births, have led to the development of a new and distinct stage -- emerging adulthood. We focus on one aspect of this stage -- whether stage of adolescence moderates the relation between parent-adolescent relationship quality and young adults’ romantic relationship quality. We compare mothers’, fathers’, and adolescents’ reported quality of the parent-child relationship (warmth/closeness, control/conflict), using Waves 2 and 3 of the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH), and at the 10-year follow-up, young adult children’s reports on the quality of their current romantic relationship (satisfaction, marriage attitudes, conflict). Results indicate that stage of adolescence moderated the relation between parent-adolescent relationship quality and young adults’ romantic outcomes. Specifically, mothers’ reports of warmth/closeness during early adolescence predict young adult children’s reports of higher romantic relationship quality. These findings highlight the importance of examining distinct parenting processes across stages of adolescence.