The Influence of Family Change and Parent-Child Relationship Quality on Young Adult Attitudes about Family Structure


Paula Fomby1, Ariane Ophir2, Marcia Carlson2
1University of Michigan, 2University of Wisconsin–Madison

Today’s US young adults grew up in an era of unprecedented diversity of family forms. As they embark upon their own family formation, how does personal experience of nonmarital family organization and frequent family structure change shape the way young adults think about the salience of stable two-parent family forms as a context for childrearing? We address this question using information from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Transition into Adulthood Supplement, 2005-2015 (N=2,875). We consider young adults’ relationship quality with their primary parent figures as a key mediator and moderator of the association between family change in childhood and later attitudes. Our analysis controls for prospectively-measured indicators of parent-child relationship quality, family conflict, and parent attitudes about gender roles during childhood.