Family Instability and Adolescent Relationships: The Role of Parental Relationship Churning
Parental relationship histories are associated with adolescents’ romantic and sexual relationships. However, no research examines the association between parents’ being in an on-again/off-again relationship (churning) and adolescent relationship outcomes, even though a substantial minority of youth experience this form of family instability. Using Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study data, the present study examines how parental relationship histories are associated with adolescents’ dating and sexual experiences. We find that differences in outcomes between adolescents who experience parental relationship churning and adolescents who experience other parental relationship histories are largely explained by variation in adolescent and parental characteristics. These findings suggest that adolescents who experience parental relationship churning are a distinctive group, but for reasons other than their parents’ tumultuous relationship histories.
Halpern-Meekin, Sarah, and Kristin Turney. 2022. “Family Instability and Adolescent Relationships: The Role of Parental Relationship Churning.” Youth and Society. 54(5): 730–765.