Journal Article

Exploring Parent and Child Perceptions of Interparental Conflict

Lauren G. Wild and Martin P. M. Richards

in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Volume 17, issue 3, pages 366-384
Published in print October 2003 | ISSN: 1360-9939
Published online October 2003 | e-ISSN: 1464-3707 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/lawfam/17.3.366
Exploring Parent and Child Perceptions of Interparental Conflict

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This study aimed to compare child and parent reports of interparental conflict in a community sample of British families, and to increase understanding of children's emotional reactions to this conflict. Fifty 9‐ to 11‐year‐old children from intact, two‐parent families completed the Children's Perception of Interparental Conflict Scale (CPIC, see J.H.Grych, M. Seid and F.D.Fincham in Child Development 63, 558–572, 1992) and a structured qualitative interview assessing their appraisals of and reactions to their parents' conflict. In addition, 71 of their parents completed the Conflicts and Problem‐Solving Scales (CPS, see P.K. Kerig in Journal of Family Psychology 10, 454–473, 1996). In general, children's perceptions of interparental conflict on the CPIC showed significant (p < 0.05) and moderately strong correlations with parents' reports of conflict on the CPS. Children tended to have neutral responses to interparental conflict if they expected that the argument would be quickly resolved and have no negative long‐term consequences. On the other hand, greater perceived frequency and intensity of interparental conflict, poorer resolution and more child involvement were associated with negative emotional reactions in children. These included reports of sadness, threat and self‐blame.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family

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