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Views of Marriage and Divorce: An In-Depth Study of Young Adults from Intact and Divorced Families.

Publication Year: 
Personal Author: 
Burgoyne, Carole B.
Hames, Rebecca.
Journal Article
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Studies have suggested that parental divorce has a negative impact on their children's views of marriage and family life. However, much research has focused upon younger children, and few studies have compared young people from divorced and intact families. This paper reports an in-depth analysis of the views of young people with divorced and still-married parents, on marriage, divorce, and future marital intentions. Data from 20 semi-structured interviews were analysed using the method of Grounded Theory. The results showed a greater concordance between the two groups on the issues of marriage and divorce than suggested by previous research. Respondents believed that they regarded marriage in a more serious way than did people in general, and the majority expected to get married at some point, regardless of family background. Those with married parents made greater use of a "romantic" discourse when talking about marriage, and individuals from both groups who had experienced parental conflict or unhappiness took a more "realistic" and cautious view. Both groups regarded divorce in a negative light, but there was also evidence of an "ideological dilemma," with shifts of opinion depending on whether the issues were framed at an individual or societal level. These findings indicate the need for a more analytical approach to the concept of "attitudes" toward marriage and divorce in future research. (Author Abstract)

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