Influences of family structure and parental conflict on children's well-being
Relative effects of membership in one of two family structures (married-never divorced-not remarried) and interparental conflict (high vs. low) on children's well-being (internalizing, externalizing behavior, and trouble with peers) are examined for a sample of 10- to 17-year-old children and their parents from the National Survey of Families and Households (N = 618). Findings support the hypothesis that parental conflict influences children's well-being regardless of family structure. Children in high conflict families showed lower levels of well-being on all outcomes, but no well-being differnces were found between family structure groups. Analyses of child gender indicated that parental warmth toward the child mediated the relationship between conflict and well-being for girls. For boys, both conflict and parental warmth were directly related to well-being independently. Implications of results for theory, research, and policy are discussed.
Vandewater, EA; Lansford, JE
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