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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Schudlich, Tina Dawn Du Rocher

Second Advisor

Forgays, Deborah

Third Advisor

McLean, Kate C.


The relationship between exposure to destructive styles of interparental conflict and child maladjustment and psychological problems has long been documented . Marital conflict is thought to affect children by two pathways: directly, by threatening or enhancing their emotional security, or indirectly, by spilling over into coparenting and parenting practices. The present study examined both of these pathways. Participants were 74 nuclear families with infants aged 6 to 14 months. Participants engaged in two interactions: a marital discussion with their infant present and a play interaction. Results indicated a significant link between conflict expressions and emotional insecurity. Furthermore, conflict expressions were also significantly related to coparenting and parenting behaviors. While parent-child processes were linked with emotional insecurity, coparenting behaviors were not. While no mediation was observed for parenting behaviors in the relationship between conflict expression and emotional insecurity, there were trends in the anticipated directions. Results of this study highlight the importance of disseminating to clinicians and the community the significance of managing interparental conflict in appropriate, well-modulated ways. Moreover, emphasis should be placed upon the use of effective coparenting and parenting strategies, especially when destructive marital conflict exists in the home.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Parent and child; Marital conflict--Psychological aspects; Security (Psychology) in children; Parental influences; Conflict management--Psychological aspects




masters theses




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