A Prospective Investigation of the Impact of the Timing of Exposure to Interparental Conflict on Young Children's Emotional and Behavioral Adjustment Open Access

Kincheloe, Amy Ransom (2011)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/7s75dc911?locale=en
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Abstract

Abstract

The present prospective investigation examined the effect of exposure, and particularly the timing of exposure, to verbal and physical interparental conflict on children's subsequent adjustment. For 4264 children (males = 2168, females = 2096), mothers reported on interparental conflict during their child's toddlerhood and early childhood. Mothers completed a parent-report checklist of their child's emotional and behavioral functioning and children completed measures of locus of control orientation and nonverbal receptive skill during middle childhood. Analyses revealed that children's emotional and behavioral difficulties were more severe among those exposed to either verbal or physical conflict, and these effects were additive across developmental periods. No significant interaction effects were found for those exposed to both verbal and physical conflict, indicating that verbal conflict and physical conflict appear to have independent effects on children's well-being. Analyses showed significant sequencing effects such that children exposed to both types of adversities, but at different time-points, functioned more poorly in the future in terms of overall difficulties, and specifically with regard to conduct and peer problems, as compared to children exposed to both adversities during a same time-point. It was also found that children experiencing parental conflict earlier in their lives tended to show poorer emotional functioning and to have more externally-oriented locus of control scores when compared to those exposed to conflict later in childhood. Although there was support for more parental verbal conflict being associated with greater externality in children, there was no support for a relationship between conflict exposure and nonverbal receptive skill. There were also no gender differences. Results are further discussed in terms of limitations of the present study and directions for future research are outlined.

Keywords: Interparental conflict; child mental health; locus of control

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Introduction. .........................................................................................................................1
Method . .............................................................................................................................30
Results. ...............................................................................................................................42
Discussion . .........................................................................................................................50
References . ........................................................................................................................63
Appendix A: Interparental Conflict Scale .........................................................................81
Appendix B: Locus of Control Scale . ..............................................................................82

Tables and Figures

Table 1: Risk Profiles for Timing of Exposure to Interparental Conflict. .........................83
Table 2: Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) Sex x Risk Interaction . ...........................84
Table 3: Definition of Covariates to be Used in Regression Analyses. ............................85
Table 4: Frequency Table for Interparental Conflict Covariates by Gender . ....................86
Table 5: Multiple Regression Analyses for Exposure, Timing and Sequencing Effects for
Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Total Difficulties Scale . ...................................87
Table 6: Multiple Regression Analyses for Exposure, Timing, and Sequencing Effects
for Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Conduct Problems Scale. ............................88
Table 7: Multiple Regression Analyses for Exposure, Timing, and Sequencing Effects
for Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Emotional Problems Scale ..........................89
Table 8: Multiple Regression Analyses for Exposure, Timing, and Sequencing Effects
for Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Peer Problems Scale . .................................90
Table 9: Multiple Regression Analyses for Exposure, Timing, and Sequencing Effects
for Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Hyperactivity-Inattention Scale ..................91
Table 10: Multiple Regression Analyses for Exposure, Timing, and Sequencing Effects for
Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Prosocial Behavior Scale…..……………………92
Table 11: Multiple Regression Analyses for Exposure, Timing, and Sequencing Effects
for Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Control Scale (CNSIE)…………..93
Figure 1: Exposure Effects for Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Total Difficulties
Scale ...................................................................................................................................94
Figure 2: Exposure Effects for Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Conduct
Problems Scale. ..................................................................................................................95
Figure 3: Exposure Effects for Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Emotional
Problems Scale ...................................................................................................................96
Figure 4: Exposure Effects for Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Peer Problems
Sca le. ..................................................................................................................................97
Figure 5: Exposure Effects for Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Hyperactivity-
Inattention Scale.................................................................................................................98

Figure 6: Exposure Effects for Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Prosocial
Behavior Scale. ..................................................................................................................99
Figure 7: Exposure Effects for Children's Nowicki-Strickland Internal-External Locus of
Control Scale (CNSIE). ...................................................................................................100

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