Children whose parents have multiple partners while they’re growing up are ‘less likely to have stable relationships as adults’, study suggests

Children whose parents remarry several times or have multiple partners are likely to have more relationships themselves when they’re adults, a new study has suggested.

An array of biological traits, as well as factors learned from parents in childhood, influence our relationship success, US researchers, lead by Dr Claire Kamp Dush, an associate professor of human sciences at Ohio State University, said.

They add this has led to a “merry-go-round of partners” in some households which could be harming the wellbeing of children and their parents.

The researchers said that signs of an increased break-up rate being passed down the generations could be down to a mix of heritable factors, such as personality traits or mental health conditions, and the relationship skills children see from their parents.

“What our results suggest is that mothers may pass on their marriageable characteristics and relationship skills to their children – for better or worse,” said Dr Dush. “It could be that mothers who have more partners don’t have great relationship skills, or don’t deal with conflict well, or have mental health problems, each of which can undermine relationships and lead to instability.

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