Familial predictors of young adult romantic relationship functioning
Baggett, Emily Anne
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The current study examines the specific relations of boundary dissolution—the disintegration of normal parent-child roles in which the child fulfills the parent’s emotional needs to an inappropriate degree—to young adult romantic relationship satisfaction and insecurity. Boundary dissolution, retrospectively reported by 779 college undergraduates, was regressed along measures of relationship satisfaction and insecurity while controlling for the variance explained by measures of adult attachment and authoritative parenting style. Authoritative parenting style was measured by the Authoritative subscale of the Parental Authority Questionnaire (PAQ; Buri, 1991). Adult attachment was measured by the total parent scale score of the Inventory of Peer and Parent Attachment (IPPA; Armsden & Greenberg, 1987). Boundary dissolution was assessed using the parentification, adultification, and seductive spousification subscales of the Parent-Child Boundary Scale (PBS; Kerig, 2006). The PAQ, IPPA, and PBS were administered separately for mother and father. Romantic relationships outcomes included measures of insecurity and satisfaction. Our results indicate that, after controlling for PAQ and IPPA scores, the measures of boundary dissolution are significantly related to romantic relationship satisfaction and insecurity. Specifically, relationship satisfaction was predicted by maternal and paternal adultification (β = -.15 and -.13 respectively, both p < .05), maternal spousification (β = -.17, p < .05), and paternal parentification (β = -.14, p < .05). Relationship insecurity was predicted by maternal spousification (β = .12, p < .05) and paternal adultification (β = .16, p < .05). The results of this study extend the theoretical understanding of the interpersonal outcomes of boundary dissolution. Future research will seek to identify factors that may mediate the relations between boundary dissolution and romantic relationship functioning.