Cascading effects of interparental conflict in adolescence: Linking threat appraisals, self-efficacy, and adjustment

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This study examined the longitudinal implications of adolescents' exposure to interparental conflict for their developmental success. In the proposed developmental cascade model, adolescents' perceptions of parental conflict as threatening is a risk factor for diminished self-efficacy, which would account for diminished adjustment. This study presents longitudinal data for 768 sixth-grade students and their families over four time points, ending in eighth grade. Analyses were conducted in three steps. First, replication of longitudinal support for threat as a mediator of the link between interparental conflict and emotional distress was found; however, findings did not support threat as a mediator of behavior problems or subjective well-being. Second, threat was found to mediate the longitudinal association between interparental conflict and self-efficacy. Third, a developmental cascade model supported a risk process in which interparental conflict was related to adolescents' threat appraisals, which undermined self-efficacy beliefs, and was then linked with emotional distress, behavior problems, and subjective well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-252
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 8 2014


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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