Interparental conflict in context: exploring relations between parenting processes and children's conflict appraisals.
Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Children's appraisals of conflict are a mechanism by which parental discord can lead to child maladjustment. The cognitive-contextual framework proposes that parent-child relationships may affect how children perceive conflict, but this idea has rarely been examined empirically. This study investigated relations between conflict appraisals, parenting, and child adjustment in a sample of 150 8- to 12-year-old children, using a multi-informant, multimethod design. Mothers' coercive/controlling and emotionally unsupportive parenting magnified the relation between conflict and children's self-blame; emotionally supportive parenting diminished this association. Children's secure attachment with fathers was linked with less threat and self-blame; more security reduced self-blame for conflict. Data suggest that supportive, responsive parenting can buffer the effects of interparental conflict on children by reducing self-blaming attributions for parental discord.