Relationships in the Home as a Moderator of Intergenerational Continuity

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Continuity in problem behavior across generations is a long-standing notion that has been largely supported by research. Nonetheless, there is substantial discontinuity in this relationship, as many children benefit from protective factors that buffer intergenerational risk. In this paper, I examine how parent-partner relationships can act as a protective factor to reduce the intergenerational continuity of problem behavior. Specifically, I test whether parent-partner relationship satisfaction, stability, and conflict moderate the relationship between parental adolescent delinquency and child delinquency and substance use. I use data from the Rochester Youth Development Study and its intergenerational companion, the Rochester Intergenerational Study. Several findings emerged. First, there is evidence of intergeneration continuity, but this continuity is limited to child delinquency. In addition, when testing for the moderation of intergenerational continuity, none of the parent-partner relationship measures act as moderators. Instead, parent-partner relationship qualities appear to only act as direct protective factors.