Parent-child relationships, partner relationships, and emotional adjustment: A birth-to-maturity prospective study

Geertjan Overbeek, Håkan Stattin, Ad Vermulst, Thao Ha, Rutger C.M.E. Engels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Scopus citations


This study examined whether detrimental childhood relationships with parents were related to partner relationship quality and emotional adjustment in adulthood. The authors tested a theoretical model in which (a) low-quality parent-child relationships were related to conflict and low-quality communication with parents in adolescence, (b) parent-adolescent conflict and low-quality communication were linked to low-quality partner relationships in young adulthood, and (c) low-quality partner relationships in young adulthood were predictive of low-quality partner relationships as well as depression, anxiety, and dissatisfaction with life at midlife. Multi-informant data were used from 212 Swedish individuals who were followed from birth into adulthood. Results demonstrated that, as hypothesized, negative parent-child bonds were indirectly related to low-quality partner relationships and dissatisfaction with life in adulthood (but not anxiety and depression) through conflictual parent-adolescent communication and low-quality partner relationships in young adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-437
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007
Externally publishedYes



  • Emotional adjustment
  • Parent-child relationships
  • Partner relationship quality
  • Prospective-longitudinal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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