Date of Award

Summer 2005

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Grych, John H.

Second Advisor

Oswald, Debra

Third Advisor

Aubin, Ed de St.

Abstract

Drawing from family systems theory, this study examines the role of family emotional processes as contextual factors that shape children's appraisals and adjustment associated with interparental conflict. Two emotional processes were examined as family contextual factors for children's experiences with interparental conflict: 1) family emotional expressiveness (emotional climate); and 2) parents reactions to children's negative emotions. Data were collected from a culturally diverse sample of 144 children ages 8-12 years old and their parents. Results provided support for the family emotional climate as a contextual factor for children's self-blaming attributions. Family negativity was found to exacerbate children's maladjustment associated with interparental conflict. Finally, mothers' and fathers' responses to children's negative affect moderated the association between interparental conflict and children's self-blaming appraisals. The implications of these findings are discussed.

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