Interparental Conflict, Young Adult Adjustment, and Appraisals Among Emerging Adults Christine R. Keeports & Laura D. PittmanNorthern Illinois University Summary of Results Introduction • Children exposed to more severe interparental conflict tend to show more • internalizing behaviors than children who are exposed to less severe interparental conflict (Dadds, Atkinson, Turner, Blums, & Lendich, 1999). • According to the cognitive-contextual framework, exposure to interparental conflict leads children to form appraisals of threat and self-blame as they process their parents’ arguments (Grych & Fincham, 1990). • Increased appraisals of threat and self-blame are associated with increased internalizing symptoms (Dadds et al., 1999). • Although these findings are well known for children and adolescents, young adults have not yet been examined in context of interparental conflict, internalizing symptoms, and cognitive appraisals. • However, this population is likely to respond similarly to interparental conflict as • children and adolescence, because they still remain in close contact with parents and remain dependent on parents (Arnett, 2000; Gentzler, Oberhauser, Westerman, & Nadorff, 2011; Goldsceider & Goldscheider, 1994; Umberson, 1992) • Past research generally considers internalizing as a global scale. In contrast, • this study teased apart depression, anxiety, and somatization symptoms. Preliminary Analyses • Threat fully mediated the relationship between interparental conflict and depression/anxiety, but did not mediate the relationship between interparental conflict and somatization. • Self-Blame partially mediated the relationship between interparental conflict and anxiety, but did not mediate the relationship between interparental conflict and depression/somatization. • When both threat and self-blame were added to the model, threat uniquely mediated the link between interparental conflict and depression while self-blame uniquely mediated the link between interparental conflict and anxiety. Neither threat nor self-blame were unique mediators with somatization as a dependent variable. Discussion • Even among young adults, exposure to interparental conflict is positively associated with internalizing symptoms. • Although both threat and self-blame mediate links between interparental conflict and internalizing symptoms, appraisals of threat are uniquely associated with feelings of inadequacy and helplessness while appraisals of self-blame are uniquely associated with anxiety • This study is limited due to a cross-sectional design and cannot show causation or directionality. Additionally, it only includes college students between the ages of 18 and 21 while emerging adulthood typically ranges from 18-25 (Arnett, 2000). • Future research should examine the relationships between these constructs per each culture. Only through examining patterns in each culture will conclusions be drawn about the impact of interparental conflict on young adults within specific minority cultures. Methods Mediational Analyses • Participants & Procedures • Data from 242 single, 18-21 year old young adults (M = 18.94, SD = .93) from intact families were used. • Participants were primarily Caucasian (74%), with African American (10%), Hispanic-American (8%), Asian-American (6%), and other ethnicities (2%; e.g., American Indian, Biracial) also represented. • Most participants (83%) lived away from home in the dorms while only 5% lived at home (presumably with their parents), 9% lived in apartments by themselves or with friends, and 3.0% having other living situations. • Participants indicated that they saw their parents once a week or more frequently (22%), at least once a month (50%), or several times a year or less frequently (28%). Additionally, participants indicated that they communicated with their parents (e.g., through phone, text, Skype, email) at least once per day or more often (46%), at least once a week (48%), or only once or twice a month (6%). • Measures • Participants filled out a demographic questionnaire that included gender, age, year in college, marital status, ethnicity, family structure and economic strain. • Children’s Perception of Interparental Conflict Scales (CPIC) assessed conflict properties (i.e., frequency, intensity, resolution; α= .95 ) and perceptions of threat (α = .82 and self-blame (α = .84; Grychet al., 1992). • Brief Symptoms Inventory assessed symptoms of depression (6 items; α = .86), anxiety (6 items; α = .70), and somatization (7 items; α = .77; Derogatis, 1993). Threat .22** .68*** Self-Blame .36*** .06 Interparental Conflict References Depression .27*** .10 While threat fully mediates the link between interparental conflict and depression, self-blame does not act as a mediator when entered alone or simultaneously with threat. Armsden, G.C., & Greenberg, M.T. (1987). The Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment: Individual differences and their relationships to psychological well-being in adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 16, 427-454. doi: 10.1007/BF02202939 Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55, 469-480. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.55.5.469 Dadds, M. R., Atkinson, E., Turner, C., Blums, G., & Lendich, B. (1999). Family conflict and child adjustment: Evidence for a cognitive-contextual model of intergenerational transmission. Journal of Family Psychology, 13, 194-208. doi: 10.1037/0893-322.214.171.124 Derogatis, L. R. (1993). Brief Symptom Inventory: Administration, scoring, and procedures manual. San Antonio, TX: Pearson. Gentzler, A. L., Oberhauser, A. M., Westerman, D., & Nadorff, D. K. (2011). College students' use of electronic communication with parents: Links to loneliness, attachment, and relationship quality. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 14, 71-74. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2009.0409 Goldscheider, F., & Goldscheider, C. (1994). Leaving and returning home in 20th –century America. Population Bulletin, 48, 2-35. Grych, J. H., & Fincham, F. D. (1990). Marital conflict and children’s adjustment: A cognitive-contextual framework. Psychological Bulletin, 108, 267-290. doi: 10.1037//0033-2909.108.2.267 Grych, J. H., Seid, M., & Fincham, F. D. (1992). Assessing marital conflict from the child’s perspective: The Children’s Perception of Interparental Conflict Scale. Child Development, 63, 558-572. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1992.tb01646.x Umberson, D. (1992). Relationships between adult children and their parents: Psychological consequences for both generations. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 54, 664-674. doi: 10.2307/353252 Threat .10 .68*** Self-Blame .36*** .17* Interparental Conflict Anxiety .26*** .13 While threat fully mediates and self-blame partially mediates the link between interparental conflict and anxiety when entered alone, only self-blame was a significant mediator when the mediators were entered simultaneously. Analysis Plan • Outliers were adjusted to the value of three standard deviations (SD) above the mean in order to reduce their impact on the dependent variables. • After preliminary correlational analyses, regression analyses were run to explore the influence of interparental conflict on young adult internalizing symptoms. Appraisals of threat and self-blame were also examined as possible mediators of this relationship. • All analyses controlled for the young adults’ gender, university, economic stain, and minority. • Mediational models were examined through the technique outlined by Baron and Kenny (1986). • Three models were considered for each internalizing behavior: threat as a mediator, self-blame as a mediator, threat and self-blame as mediators. Only the final model is presented. Threat .13 .68*** Self-Blame .07 .36*** Interparental Conflict Somatization .18** .07 Neither threat nor self-blame mediates the relationship between interparental conflict and somatization when entered into the model alone or simultaneously. p < .05; ** p < .01; *** p < .001 Correspondence concerning this poster should be addressed to Christine Keeports at the Psychology Department, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.