Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 331–346

Retrospective reports of family-of-origin divorce and abuse and college student's pre-parenthood cognitions

  • Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling
  • Colleen Dostal

DOI: 10.1007/BF02333421

Cite this article as:
Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J. & Dostal, C. J Fam Viol (1996) 11: 331. doi:10.1007/BF02333421


This study examined the relationship between pre-parenthood cognitions and family-of-origin divorce and aggression. College students from divorced (N=46) and intact (N=66) families were asked to report their positive and negative pre-parenthood beliefs. Young adults from divorced families were found to anticipate more concerns about parenthood than those from intact families. Second, consistent with hypothesis, number of parenting concers differed by reported level of physical victimization from father. Level of witnessing father-to-mother violence was also significantly associated with pre-parenthood concerns, as individuals who witnessed severe levels of father-to-mother violence reported more concerns about parenthood than did those witnessing mild violence, emotional abuse, or no physical or emotional abuse. Victimization from mother and witnessing mother-to-father violence were unrelated to pre-parenthood concerns. None of the family-of-origin experiences was found to relate to positive reasons for children. These findings suggest that divorce and physical abuse by father in the family-of-origin may result in altered negative pre-parenthood cognitions. The findings were discussed in relation to theories about the intergenerational transmission of negative family events, as well in relation to gender sensitive models of family violence.

Key Words

parenthood cognitions family-of-origin divorce violence 

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling
    • 1
  • Colleen Dostal
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of NebraskaLincoln

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