The goal of this chapter is to examine (1) how children’s rapport with dating partners predicts mothers’ dating stability; (2) how characteristics of dating partners are associated with children’s problem behaviors; and (3) how mothers’ lingering attachment to the former spouse predicts relationship quality of dating relationships.
Data comes from a multimethod, multi-informant longitudinal study of postdivorce dating relationships (N = 319 mothers, n = 178 children, n = 153 dating partners). Hierarchical linear modeling techniques were used to test consequences of breakup of mothers’ dating relationships for children’s behaviors, children’s rapport with dating partners for mothers’ dating relationship stability, and mothers’ lingering attachment for quality of dating relationships.
We found that children’s rapport with dating partners was positively associated with dating breakup; more antisocial traits and drunkenness of mothers’ dating partners was positively associated with children’s problem behaviors at breakup; and lingering attachment was positively associated with poorer relationship quality with dating partners.
Because the focus of this chapter is divorced mothers with children, future studies are recommended to examine fathers’ postdivorce dating relationships. Future research should delineate dating, cohabiting, and remarried relationships after divorce.
This chapter presents empirical data examining the influence children have on mothers’ dating relationships, the influence of mothers’ dating relationships on children’s behaviors, and the effects of mothers’ lingering attachment to the former spouse on quality of mothers’ dating relationships. Information from this research is crucial for researchers and practitioners to assist mother’s and children’s postdivorce adjustment.
This research was supported in part by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, R01 HD41463-01A1. We would also like to acknowledge Holly Reidelbach for all of her hard work with collecting data for this study.
Langlais, M.R., Anderson, E.R. and Greene, S.M. (2016), "Mothers’ Dating after Divorce", Divorce, Separation, and Remarriage: The Transformation of Family (Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 69-100. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1530-353520160000010004
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