Academic journal article Journal of Family Studies

An Exploration of Children's Involvement Strategies for Coping with Interparental Conflict

Academic journal article Journal of Family Studies

An Exploration of Children's Involvement Strategies for Coping with Interparental Conflict

Article excerpt

The goal of the present study was to build upon existing theory and research by disaggregating the construct of child involvement in interparental conflict, and developing more comprehensive, multidimensional definitions of both adaptive and maladaptive forms of involvement using an organizational pattern-based approach. This study also aimed to uncover the distinct origins, correlates, and sequelae of the proposed dimensions of involvement by using multiple methods and informants to conservatively test whether specific dimensions of marital conflict (i.e. interparental hostility, dysphoria, and withdrawal) predicted different forms of involvement (i.e. empathic, preoccupied, 'parentified', and 'dysregulated') measured one year later, and whether these involvement dimensions differentially predicted child internalizing and externalizing symptomatology in a sample of 224 school-age children. Finally, this study sought to resolve inconsistencies in the literature regarding the moderating effects of gender on these associations, and whether child involvement mediates the relationships between forms of interparental conflict and child outcomes. Structural equation model findings indicated that interparental withdrawal appeared to pose the greatest risk for the development of dysregulated involvement; a strategy of coping with interparental conflict that was strongly associated with externalizing symptoms, but was also related to internalizing problems in children. …

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