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Abstract

Previous literature on parental divorce focuses on the negative effects it has on children and young adults in terms of relationships (romantic and familial) and academic standing. The implications of such research are that parental divorce brings harm to families and, consequentially, should be avoided for the sake of the children's wellbeing. What is often missing from this research is a focus on the potential positive outcomes of parental divorce. The current study explores the effects of parental divorce on young adults' ability to form and maintain romantic relationships, exploring the possibility for positive outcomes of parental divorce on young adults. Specifically, it asks whether or not young adults can actually benefit from their parents' divorce. Using a multi-method research design, survey data from 233 college students from divorced and intact families and face to face interviews with 10 respondents from divorced families, findings show that many young adults do experience positive outcomes after the divorce and that these outcomes are dependent on a variety of familial and social factors that shape the divorce experience.

KEYWORDS: parental divorce, positive outcomes

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