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Title: Marital conflict, parent-child relations and children's psychological adjustment : a longitudinal investigation into the role of parental warmth and hostility
Author: Miles, Claire J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 6252
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2005
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The corpus of research presented in this thesis applies a process-oriented perspective to understanding the interplay between marital conflict, parent-child relations and children's adjustment Specifically, this thesis focuses on the conceptually important question concerning the relative impact of parent-child warmth versus hostility on children's appraisals of the interparental and parent-child relationship, and how children's appraisals mediate the influence of parent-child relations on children's adjustment in the context of a discordant interparental relationship. Using data from a sample of over 500 children, parents and teachers living in the United Kingdom, a set of interlocking studies were conducted. First, two studies addressed the direction of effects between marital conflict and parent-child warmth and hostility, and between parent-child warmth and hostility and children's internalising symptoms and externalising problems. In addition, differences according to parent and child gender, and parent and child reports of interparental and parent-child relations were identified. This provided a necessary first step to confirm the orienting influence of marital conflict on the quality of parent-child relations, and to identify the influence of parent-child relations on children's adjustment, whilst also considering the theoretically plausible alternative that children's behaviour influences parents' expressions of warmth and hostility within parent-child relations, which, in turn, may influence the level of interparental conflict. Following on from this, a third study examined the mediating role of parent-child warmth and hostility in accounting for the relationship between interparental conflict and children's long-term internalising symptoms and externalising problems. This study examined the relative influence of parental hostile and rejecting behaviour versus warm and responsive behaviour on children's adjustment considered in the context of marital conflict. Finally, an integrative model examined whether the affective quality of parent-child relations determines children's appraisals of parent-child insecurity and children's perceptions of threat and self-blame derived from exposure to interparental conflict, and in turn, how these appraisals of marital and parent-child relations determine changes in children's symptoms of psychological and behavioural distress. Collectively, the studies contained within this thesis are among the very first to systematically consider the direction of effects between interparental conflict, parent- child warmth and hostility and children's adjustment and serve as a primer for researchers interested in factors that may reduce children's maladjustment in response to a discordant marital relationship.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available