The impact of marital conflict on adolescent adjustment
The present study examines the impact of marital conflict on adolescent adjustment problems. Based on this general interest, the study further explores several related research questions, such as what specific aspects of marital conflict lead to adolescent adjustment problems, whether changes in marital conflict predict changes in adolescent problems, what kinds of adolescent problems are exhibited, and by what processes the relation between marital conflict and adolescent adjustment problems operates. While focusing on these research issues, this study also tries to overcome some of the methodological limitations in previous studies. The study used data from the Iowa Youth and Families Project. The results from structural equation modeling and latent growth curve analyses demonstrated that (1) two specific aspects of marital conflict, overt marital conflict and conflict over child-rearing, as well as general marital distress, had negative influences on adolescent adjustment; (2) increases in general marital distress and overt marital conflict predicted increases in adolescent problems over time; (3) poor parenting behavior mediated the relation between marital problems and adolescent poor well-being, externalizing problems, and internalizing problems, whereas adolescent feelings of insecurity mediated the relation between marital problems and adolescent poor emotional well-being and internalizing problems; (4) no moderating effect by poor parenting behavior or adolescent feelings of insecurity was found; and (5) the findings did not differ by adolescent gender.