Divorce-related parental concerns and outcomes from the perspectives of young adult children of divorced parents.
The current project sought to examine young adult children's perceptions of six types of concerns that parents may have during a divorce: concerns about power, malice, finances, esteem, child rejection, and custody. Three hundred thirteen young adults who reported experiencing parental divorce between the ages of 10 and 17 were asked to complete an online survey assessing their perceptions of parental concerns, acrimonious parent interactions, parent-child relationships, and well-being. Although there was a lack of distinction between perceived concerns about power and malice, these scales demonstrated several expected associations and results were fairly robust, suggesting that young adults' perceptions of their parents' concerns regarding conflict (encompassing both power and malice) are important. The perceived custody concerns scale demonstrated a unique patterns of results in which it was associated with higher parent acrimony but also with higher parent-child warmth, suggesting that young adults' perceptions of parents' custody concerns are also important, and different from other types of concerns. Overall, the hypothesis that young adults would be able to distinguish between six types of divorce-related parental concerns was not supported. Rather, the results suggest that young adult children of divorced parents may perceive parental concern with less specificity, as only two distinct and meaningful general categories of concerns were identified: concerns related to inter-parent conflict and custody.