The growing acceptance of divorce has sparked a discussion regarding the distribution of children’s parenting time with each parent. As a result, researchers are evaluating how divorce impacts children and what can be done to improve their wellbeing. This study sought to examine how a child’s age at their parent’s divorce predicts later parent-child relationships and romantic attachment style. Furthermore, it evaluates parenting time as a potential mediator to this relationship. In order to test this mediational model, we distributed a survey to nearly 1,000 college students with divorced parents. This questionnaire was composed of several batteries that assessed the following: their age at their parent’s divorce, the amount of parenting time awarded to each parent after the divorce, their relationship with each parent, and their romantic attachment style, in addition to many other variables that were used as covariates. Given the complexities of divorce, we controlled for potential third variable explanations that were found to be associated with parenting time, parent-child relationships, and romantic attachment style. We hypothesized that younger ages of divorce lead to less parenting time which in turn worsens the father-child relationship and their romantic attachment style. The data supports the mediational model in regard to the father-child relationship with no correlation found between our predictors and attachment style. This highlights the importance of equal parenting time becoming the new standard.
- Age of Divorce, Parenting Time, and Later Relationships: A Mediational Model