Parental Health and Adult Children’s Romantic Relationship Outcomes


Zhang, Xing & Hammersmith, Anna M. (2022). Parental Health and Adult Children's Romantic Relationship Outcomes. 2022 Add Health Users Conference. Chapel Hill, NC.


Parents play an integral role in supporting children on the road to adulthood, especially as the entry into adult roles has become increasingly delayed in recent decades. However, according to AARP, many young people also provide support to aging parents facing difficulties, such as declining health. Thus, parental health problems may further delay children’s transitions into adulthood as children may receive fewer resources
from parents. At the same time, children may direct more of their own resources toward aging parents, possibly inhibiting their acquisition of adult roles. Using data from Waves I and V of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health and the Add Health Parent Study, we examine how parent’s physical health (operationalized by ADL limitations) is associated with their adult children’s romantic relationship outcomes (single, cohabiting, and married). We also explore how these relationships vary by gender. Preliminary findings suggest poorer physical health reported by parents may be negatively linked to adult children’s likelihood of marriage. Frequency of contact and closeness between parents and children as well as measures of upward and downward transfers of instrumental support were also associated with adult children’s romantic relationship outcomes.


Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

2022 Add Health Users Conference


Zhang, Xing
Hammersmith, Anna M.

Year Published


City of Publication

Chapel Hill, NC

Reference ID