Childhood Family Structure: The Influence on Adolescent Romance and Union Formation in Early Adulthood

Giuseppina Valle, Florida State University
Kathryn H. Tillman, Florida State University

There has been increasing interest in the influence of childhood family structure on adolescent romantic relationships and relationship formation in early adulthood. This study examines the relationship between family structure history, adolescent romance, and union formation in young adulthood. This research utilizes a national sample drawn from three waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Based on past research, I hypothesize that adolescents from households other than two-biological parents are more likely to enter romantic relationships at an earlier age and to have more instability within those relationships compared to their counterparts from two-biological parent households. Furthermore, those who experienced a relationship during adolescence, I expect those from step-families, single-parent families, and cohabiting families will be more likely to have entered into a cohabiting or married relationship during early adulthood. The implications of this research are critical in that instability may be transmitted across generations.

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Presented in Poster Session 1