Divorce and adult children’s perceptions of family obligations

Belinda Wijckmans, Jan Van Bavel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Research has indicated that divorce often weakens the ties between adult children and their parents, affecting the exchange of support in both directions. Most studies of this issue have focused on actual transfers between generations. Much less work has been done about the associated cultural values, norms, and attitudes. Using data from the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (NKPS) we investigated how divorce and re-partnering in either the parent's or adult child's generation are related to filial, parental and general family obligations. Contrary to what might be expected, the results show that divorce is positively associated with norms of family obligations, even after controlling for the exchange of support between the generations and the perceived quality of the relationship. Furthermore, there is a link between the type of family obligation and the generation in which the divorce occurred: the respondent's own divorce history is more strongly and positively correlated to his or her attitudes towards filial obligations, whereas the parents' divorce history is only positively related to the respondent's parental obligations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-310
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Comparative Family Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • family sociology
  • family obligations
  • intergenerational solidarity
  • divorce
  • separations


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