Parental divorce and interpersonal trust in adult offspring

Valarie King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


It has been proposed that recent increases in parental divorce have inhibited the development of trust among offspring. This proposition is tested by examining whether parental divorce is associated with offspring trust in parents, intimate partners, and others. Data come from the Marital Instability Over the Life Course Study. Results reveal that although parental divorce is negatively associated with trust, these effects largely disappear once the quality of the past parent-teen relationship is taken into account. The one exception is trust in fathers where children of divorce remain at higher risk of mistrust. Trust in parents, intimates, and others is strongly linked to positive parent-teen relationships regardless of parental divorce. Contemporary relationship experiences also influence trusting intimates and others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-656
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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