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Influences of marital quality Essay



Marriage in the ancient days was viewed as a way of union of two for production and love, with production being focused on bringing up children that are obedient and follow the steps of their parents. It bestowed one as being an adult and set limits in sexual activity (Wickham, Lorenz, Conger &Elder, 2007).

However, today marriage does not clearly outline the function of husbands and wives as was viewed before to be a lifetime undertaking. Its meaning is not widely shared by all and decisions about the formation are not linked towards marriage. The quality of marital relationships as observed by the young ones tends to build up the children’s’ attitudes that have always been associated with marriage (Cunningham, 2001).

Comprehending the reasons as to why people get married is important as such attitudes have been associated with divorce, sex before marriage and cohabitation. Researchers have documented a downfall in the quality of marriage relationships over the past few years (Amato & Booth, 2005).

This has brought an effect toward children leading them to develop attitudes towards marriage with others having alternatives to it. With the increasing unhappy marriages there also tends to be a development of attitudes toward their own parents.

When the parents’ marital quality is high then there is a higher possibility that the child will wish to emulate the parents and adopt attitudes that are comparable to their parents (Gecas & Seff, 2010). As the quality of marital relationships decline, it has also been noted that there develops a decline in parent child communication. It seems that the parents’ behaviors towards marriage have repercussions towards the child’s attitude toward love, relationships and marriage (Wickham, Lorenz, Conger &Elder, 2007).

The research was focused on getting the views and perspectives of parent relationships and there effects to the children. The research used a panel of parents and children to examine the links between parents and children attitude towards family issues. In the study we find out those parents’ marital issues have influences towards children view on marriage where by unhappy marriages tend to push the offspring’s to develop alternatives to marriage e.g. premarital sex and divorce (Cunningham, 2001).

Parents’ mariteal relationship effect on children’s attitude to love

Research demonstrates diverse consequences on marital issues, other physical or mental (Aiken & West, 2001). In this study the goals were extended to get to know the consequences of marital quality by examining the implications on the children.

Rogers and Amato (1997) documented that over the past decades the quality of marriage relationships globally has declined and this has brought a change to children’s’ view on marriage, relationships and love. The study put forward that children are likely to adopt the behaviors of their parents on marriage if the quality of their marriage is high. It also showed that the children will tend to create alternatives to marriage if the observation they get from their parents marriage as being negative.

In Eastern European countries where law was strictly followed, marriage was focused on production and reproduction. Before marriage young adults lived with their parents where they were given life’s lessons until when they got married and developed their own households. Marriage was the only legal way for one to be involved in sexual activity and childbearing. On the other hand, today marriage has been de-institutionalized with different meanings to it (Rogers & Amato, 2007).

This research looks into how the quality of marital relationship influences the child’s mind set on marriage compared to the ancient ideas. Although the study does not analyze every feature on marriage it tends to focus on certain elements that symbolize difference on current and ancient marriage, showing linkages to effects to children’s attitude to love and marriage.

Kapinus (2004) published that “social scientific researchers have studied the causes and consequences of marital quality and extensively focused on marriage related attitudes”. Today’s society tends to observe marriages of other assessing its meaning and desirability (Campbell, 2006).

Children and adolescents tend to observe their parents’ marriages and most of their thoughts on marriage are shaped by the impressions they get from their parents (Rogers & Amato, 2007). As a result children’s view on marriage related attitudes are influenced by how parents behave or handle their matrimony issues.

The most direct evidence of this statement is from a study by Amato and Booth (2009) where their findings indicated that individuals whose parents had unhappy marriages were supporting divorce. Another research was conducted to realize that there is an indirect effect of parent marital relationship on generations to family related attitudes (Jason & Rogers, 2007).

An additional possibility is that parents may share similar attitudes depending on their environment (Campbell, 2006). Recommendations should be put on performing a study to determine the effects of parents’ attitudes on marriage to children’s attitude.

Previous research on marital attitudes indicates that attitudes toward divorce, premarital sex are highly associated with the parent child relationship. Weinstein and Thornton (2009) argue that “maternal attitudes are the fundamental determinant of

children’s attitudes and behavior, with mother-child relations playing a secondary, facilitative role and that assessment based on personal relationships may also tend to be subjective and variable depending on the person who is evaluating the relationship and different perceptions may be present”.

The research has used interviews on both parents and children to establish that quality of parents’ marriage influences the children’s attitude towards marriage and its alternatives and that it will also restrain the transmission of these attitudes from parent to child.



Data was collected from a diverse generation of children and parents. The children were interviewed separately for their parents. Information from the parents was obtained from six different interviews. The interviews were done on different races with focus put on families that were living together, divorced and those who remarried after divorce.

Interviev questions

The interview questions were focused on;

  • Divorce: What are the children’s thought on divorce. What would lead to divorce? What is life after divorce for the children? The view of effects of divorce towards the children and the parents (Gillis, 2005).
  • Premarital sex: The view of the offspring towards sex before marriage.
  • Cohabitation
  • Singlehood: Do kids support singlehood to marriage and why.
  • Religion: Effect of faith in relation to marriages. Family rituals tend to create companionship and develop a bond.
  • Communication: The children were questioned on how their parents respond to their issues and if the take time in listening and comprehending what they are saying.
  • Social life: The kind of existence the parents illustrate to their young ones and effect towards marriage. Questions were also based on how parents resolve on conflicts.
  • Education

Each and every topic covered in the interview was given a code for analysis.


The effects of parent marital relationship were analyzed depending on every perspective covered on the interview. All analysis included control variables on age of parents and children, duration of marriage, education and social background of the family and gender of the child. The data was then analyzed using Ordinary Least Squares regression with several supplementary analyses done using ordinal logistic regression.


The results of the analysis indicated a correlation between the mothers and children being high. However, the effect of marital quality on attitude towards love and marriage seems to differ. When the responses of the mothers toward marital quality are used to predict the children’s attitude to marriage it indicates that the children do not form same perspectives with their mothers. The effect of parent marital quality towards singlehood was not clearly significant with the regression technique.

Fascinatingly divorce is the only issue in which parents’ marital quality does not take a major role whether the parent’s or child’s report is used to measure the parents’ marital quality. The attitudes toward divorce from the mothers and children’s view are highly related. However, children of happily- married parents are not into the idea of divorce or singlehood.

This understanding is consistent with research by Cunningham, (2001) who argue that “the children of parents who remain married despite high levels of conflict develop a stronger commitment to marriage than the children of parents who divorce”.


The study above gives an understanding that marital dynamics bring much influence on attitudes towards a wide variety of behaviors on off springs. The interviews provided information on influences of marital quality towards children’s attitude on marriage and love.

The results of the study demonstrated that the marital quality of the parents enhanced the transmission of attitudes to the children. Parents who have a relatively positive relationship build a positive attitude towards their children.

The findings showed that the resolving of marital issues and how the parents behaved before the children contributed to negatively linking them to premarital sex and divorce. In families where marriages were good without quarrels, the children did not support sex before marriage or divorce.

The results also suggested that parents who are happy in their marriage were a role model to their children. The study demonstrated that couples who had a harmonious relationship emulated competency and maturity on their children while those that had conflicts put the children on antisocial behaviors and cognitive delays.


Aiken, L.S. and S.G. West. 2001. Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Amato, P.R. and A. Booth. 2005. “Changes in Gender Role Attitudes and Perceived Marital Quality.” American Sociological Review 60:58-66.

Amato, P.R. and A. Booth. 2008. “The Consequences of Divorce for Attitudes toward Divorce and Gender Roles.” Journal of Family Issues 306-322.

Campbell, E.Q. 2006. “Adolescent Socialization,” Pp. 821-59 in Handbook of Socialization Theory and Research, edited by D. A. Goslin. Chicago, IL: Rand McNally.

Cunningham, M. 2001. “The Influence of Parental Attitudes and Behaviors on Children’s Attitudes toward Gender and Household Labor in Early Adulthood.” Journal of Marriage and Family 63:111-221.

Gecas, V. and M.A. Seff. 2010. “Families and Adolescents: A Review of the 1980s.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 47:905-1232.

Jason, C.R. and S.J. Rogers. 2007. “A Longitudinal Study of Marital Problems and Subsequent Divorce.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 5(9):125-245.

Kapinus, C.A. 2004. “The Effect of Parents’ Attitudes toward Divorce on Offspring’s Attitudes: Gender and Parental Divorce as Mediating Factors.” Journal of Family Issues 25:112-356.

Rogers, S.J. and P.R. Amato. 2007. “Is Marital Quality Declining? The Evidence from Two Generations.” Social Forces 75:1089-1100.

Weinstein, M. and A. Thornton. 2009. “Mother-Child Relations and Adolescent Sexual Attitudes and Behavior.” Demography 26:563-778.

Wickrama K.A.S., F.O. Lorenz, R.D. Conger, and G.H. Elder. 2007. “Marital Quality and Physical Illness: A Latent Growth Curve Analysis.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 59:143-155.

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