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01-12-2006 | Original Paper | Uitgave 6/2006

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 6/2006

The Role of Maternal Communication Patterns About Interparental Disputes in Associations Between Interparental Conflict and Child Psychological Maladjustment

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 6/2006
Auteurs:
Beata M. Gomulak-Cavicchio, Patrick T. Davies, E. Mark Cummings

Abstract

The present study examined the role of mothers’ communication with children about interparental disputes in associations between interparental conflict and child psychological maladjustment in a sample of 227 children and their parents followed over a one-year span. Most of the time (i.e., 79.8%) mothers reported that they would communicate with their children following interparental disputes, with the vast majority of those communications containing relatively constructive depictions of interparental conflict. Post-conflict communications were not associated with children’s adjustment above and beyond the impact of interparental conflict. However, maternal communications underscoring family cohesion and warmth, emphasizing remorse for engaging in the interparental disagreement, and denying the occurrence of the dispute each moderated associations between interparental conflict and child externalizing symptoms in distinct, complex ways. The findings in general suggest that not all positive communications have the beneficial impact on children that parents may have intended.

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