Parental Influence in Adult Children’s Marital Relationships
Chiu, Hsin-Yao; Jacob, Jenet
Parents’ couple relationship quality is highly associated with their adult children’s relationship quality with their own partners (Amato & Booth, 2001; Amato & Cheadle, 2005). According to social learning theory, children discover from observing their parents’ interactions that certain behaviors are linked to certain outcomes. They are more willing to follow those behaviors and attitudes which will help them attain their own desired goals (Akers, La Greca, Cochran, & Sellers, 1989; Bandura, 1977; Sellers, Cochran, & Branch, 2005). Drawing on Social Learning theory, the current study uses relationship self-regulation as the measure (Wilson, Charker, Lizzio, Halford and Kimlin, 2005) to understand how specific behavioral efforts could effectively bring about positive outcomes in couple relationships. In addition to behavioral efforts, the current study also uses a measure of “familism” (Schwartz, 2007) to explore how parents’ attitudes towards marriage influence their adult children’s couple relationship quality. The following questions are addressed in the current study: (1) How are parents’ relationship self-regulation patterns associated with adult children’s self regulation and the value they place on the importance of marriage? (2) How do adult children’s relationship self-regulation and attitudes towards the importance of marriage influence their own relationship quality?