Family and child-level moderators of the relationship between marital conflict and early adolescent peer social competence Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
Creator
  • Pressel, Abigail Saylor
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Abstract
  • Family and child-level variables were examined as moderators of the impact of marital conflict on adolescent peer social competence in a sub-sample of 546 intact families (276 sons, 270 daughters) who participated in the 5th and 6th grade assessments of the NICHD SECCYD. Analyses were conducted using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model to assess for actor, partner, and interaction effects. Consistent with the first hypothesis, a significant negative relationship was consistently found between actors’ reported marital conflict and adolescent peer competence, such that higher marital conflict was associated with lower peer social competence while lower marital conflict was associated with higher peer social competence. This finding was not replicated for partners across models. It was hypothesized family emotional expressiveness would moderate the relationship between marital conflict and peer social competence. Although emotional expressiveness did not act as a moderator, both actor and partner effects were found for the positive association between emotional expressiveness and peer social competence. It was hypothesized that positive parenting behavior would moderate the relationship between marital conflict and peer social competence, such that a higher level of marital conflict would be less predictive of adolescent peer social competence in the presence of positive parenting behavior. No moderation was found, but both actor and partner parenting sensitivity were positively associated with peer social competence. It was anticipated that perceived parent-child relationship security would provide a buffer for adolescents experiencing marital conflict in the home. No moderation was found, but actor and partner effects supported a positive association between perceived relationship security and peer social competence. Adolescents who viewed peers as supportive were rated by their parents as more socially competent with peers in comparison with adolescents who did not view peers as supportive. Relative to mothers, fathers appeared to be more negatively affected by their own reported marital conflict in the home when rating their adolescent’s peer social competence. Fathers also reported lower peer social competence scores when mothers reported increased conflict in the home, while mothers were not as negatively affected by fathers’ reported marital conflict. The strengths and limitations of the present study are discussed.
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  • Cox, Martha
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