Academic journal article Journal of Behavioural Sciences

Perceived Inter-Parental Conflicts, Emotional Security and Self-Discipline in Adolescents

Academic journal article Journal of Behavioural Sciences

Perceived Inter-Parental Conflicts, Emotional Security and Self-Discipline in Adolescents

Article excerpt

Parental discord and conflict has been reported to have a broad range of harmful consequences in children, including behavior problems (Jenkins & Smith, 2001; Jouriles, Murphy, & Leary, 1989) internalizing problems (Johnston, Gonzalez, & Campbell, 1987) and different types of parental conflict have diverse consequences for a child (Emery, 1982; Katz & Low, 2004).

A child's e xposure to inter-parental conflicts is a major source to threaten emotional security of children and it has been associated with a wide range of negative outcomes in children (Jenkins & Smith, 1991; Johnston, Malley, & Bachman, 2001; Kerig, 2006). When adolescents perceive conflict between parents, their sense of emotional security becomes threatened and they exhibit poor self-discipline at school and home (Davies & Lindsey, 2004; Madigan, 2005). Emotional security is a shared sense of family belonging, entitlement, and promises and it is considered to be a building block of permanency (Kerig, 2006). Promises and belongingness make emotional security important to permanency. Adolescent is the most vulnerable group who strives to achieve his/her identity for the optimal degree of physical safety, emotional security and legal permanence within the context of family by the promises and belongingness (Katz & Low, 2004).

Adolescence is a transitional stage in which an individual is neither an adult nor a child and this stage of life becomes even more difficult when an individual tries to find his own identity, fights with social interactions, and struggles with ethical issues (Heuberger, 2008). When adolescents perceive their parents in conflict, their sense of belongingness to parents get threatened and they feel less secure in their own homes (Kumar, Stone, Gerard, & Pemberton, 1997). Emotion security may mediate relationship between perceived inter-parental conflict and self-discipline in adolescents (Neighbors, Forehand, & Bau, 1997).

According to attachment theory, problematic or disruptive parentchild relationship may lead to disorganized or problematic internal working models or models underscoring the importance of the emerged negative affect, such as anger, fear that may lead to problematic behavior or threaten internal security and emotional regulation (Davies & Cummings, 2002). According to psychoanalytic perspective, exposure of inter-parental conflict in childhood can create psychological and behavioral issues in adolescents (Davies & Lindsey, 2004).

Ample research evidence exists showing negative effect of interparental conflicts on behavioral problems of adolescents (Benson & Gerard, 2006; Cummings & Schatz, 2012; Davies & Lindsey, 2004; Frey et al., 2008; Simon, Valerie, & Wyndol, 2009). Darvern, Staiger, and Luk (2005) found high levels of perceived inter-parental conflicts associated with adolescents' adjustment problems. According to Jorge (2000), parental violence impacts behavior of children and is associated with physical and verbal aggression, low self-control, anxious and depressed mood in children. Girl adolescents have been reported to perceive more threat from parental conflicts compared to boys (Arshad & Naz, 2012; Arfaie, Mohammadi, & Sohrabi, 2013; Cusimano, Angela, & Marie, 2013; Gull, Moeen, & Hassan, 2011; Jamil & Mubashir, 2012; Jelenova, Lacinova, & Prasko, 2013; Margolin & John, 1995).

Perceived inter-parental conflicts, emotional security and selfdiscipline are closely related (Davies & Cummings, 2002). Adolescents respond to parental conflicts negatively and become emotionally insecure which in turn may result in behavioral problems (Kopp, 2002). Although, the effect of inter-parental conflict effects both genders regardless of age but girls are reported to perceive more interparental conflict (Gottfredson & Hirchi, 1990).

The impact of parental conflict on children has been highlighted indicating that children who perceive more inter-parental discord are more likely to experience behavioral problems relative to children in the general population (Cummings & Davies, 1994; McDonald & Jouriles, 1991). …

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