Familial conflict and attitudes toward marriage : a psychological wholeness perspective
Studies on the effects of divorce on children often focus on the event of the divorce as being detrimental to the children. It is becoming more evident, however, that it is not the physical loss of a parent in itself that leads to later adjustment problems, but rather the type of environment in which the child lives. The present study examined the relationship between current and past familial conflict, as perceived by college students, and their current attitudes toward marriage. This study also explored the relationship between the family structure in which the students lived (intact vs. divorced) and their current attitudes toward divorce.Two hundred four students from a midwestern university participated in this study. Participants completed four questionnaires: (1) the Family Environment Scale -current; (2) the Attitudes Toward Marriage scale; (3) the Attitudes Toward Divorce scale; and (4) the Family Environment Scale - past. The following hypotheses were tested: (1) Students who perceived high levels of conflict in their families currently or while growing up will have less favorable attitudes toward marriage; (2) Students who experienced parental divorce will have more favorable attitudes toward divorce than students from intact homes. Analyses included multiple regression analyses predicting attitudes toward marriage and attitudes toward divorce from conflict and family structure.Contrary to expectations, perceived levels of conflict were not significantly related to attitudes toward marriage, and family structure was not a significant predictor of attitudes toward divorce. Compared to students from intact homes, students from divorced homes reported significantly higher levels of conflict in their homes while growing up. Implications of these findings and limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed.