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FAMILY : Parents Divorced--Will You Too?

September 06, 1993|KATHLEEN DOHENY

Happily married couples who grew up in divorced families worry more about their marriages than happy couples who grew up in two-parent homes, according to a new study.

"Children of divorce appear more likely to experience anxiety about their marriages, even when they are happily married," says Pamela S. Webster, an assistant professor of research at Brown University who completed the study while a research fellow at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research.

She calls the tendency to worry "a unique legacy of parental divorce." And perhaps reasonable, since "it is well-known that children of divorce have higher rates of divorce." But in her study including more than 6,000 adults in first marriages, those raised in divorced families were nearly as likely as others to rate their marriages as happy.

When asked if they had thought their marriage might be in trouble over the past year, children of divorce who rated their marriages as happy were still twice as likely to say yes than happily married couples from two-parent families.

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