Sooner or later? The marital horizons of parents and their emerging adult children
emerging adulthood, marital attitudes, marriage, parents, young adulthood
Grounded in a marital horizon theory of emerging adulthood, this article presents a study that provides an evaluation of the differences between parents’ and emerging adults’ views about marriage. Using a sample of 536 emerging adults and their parents (446 mothers, 360 fathers) recruited from five college sites from across the United States, the study sought to identify parents’ marital ideals for their children and to investigate how these attitudes compare to those of emerging adults themselves. Results demonstrated that there are significant differences between parents and emerging adults with regard to marital horizon factors. Specifically, parents reported a higher desired age for marriage, lower importance of marriage as a life goal, and emphasized different criteria of marriage readiness than their emerging adult children. Results also suggest that contemporary patterns of delayed marriage among emerging adults are generally supported, and perhaps encouraged, by parents.
Original Publication Citation
Willoughby, B.J., Olson, C.D., Carroll, J.S., Nelson, L.J., & Miller, R. (2012). Sooner or later?: Parents’ marital horizons for their young adult children. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 29, 967-981.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Willoughby, Brian J.; Olson, Chad D.; Carroll, Jason S.; Nelson, Larry J.; and Miller, Richard B., "Sooner or later? The marital horizons of parents and their emerging adult children" (2012). Faculty Publications. 3966.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships
Family, Home, and Social Sciences
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