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Dev Psychol. 2007 Mar;43(2):429-37.

Parent-child relationships, partner relationships, and emotional adjustment: a birth-to-maturity prospective study.

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  • 1Behavioral Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, Netherlands.


This study examined whether detrimental childhood relationships with parents were related to partner relationship quality and emotional adjustment in adulthood. The authors tested a theoretical model in which (a) low-quality parent-child relationships were related to conflict and low-quality communication with parents in adolescence, (b) parent-adolescent conflict and low-quality communication were linked to low-quality partner relationships in young adulthood, and (c) low-quality partner relationships in young adulthood were predictive of low-quality partner relationships as well as depression, anxiety, and dissatisfaction with life at midlife. Multi-informant data were used from 212 Swedish individuals who were followed from birth into adulthood. Results demonstrated that, as hypothesized, negative parent-child bonds were indirectly related to low-quality partner relationships and dissatisfaction with life in adulthood (but not anxiety and depression) through conflictual parent-adolescent communication and low-quality partner relationships in young adulthood.

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