Emotional, Cognitive, and Family Systems Mediators of Children's Adjustment to Interparental Conflict

Gregory M. Fosco, John H. Grych

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Emotional, cognitive, and family systems processes have been identified as mediators of the association between interparental conflict and children's adjustment. However, little is known about how they function in relation to one another because they have not all been assessed in the same study. This investigation examined the relations among children's exposure to parental conflict, their appraisals of threat and blame, their emotional reaction, and triangulation into parental disagreements. One hundred fifty ethnically diverse 8- to 12-year-old children and both of their parents participated in the study. Comparisons of 3 models proposing different relations among these processes indicated that they function as parallel and independent mediators of children's adjustment. Specifically, children's self-blaming attributions and emotional distress were uniquely associated with both internalizing and externalizing problems, whereas perceived threat uniquely predicted internalizing problems and triangulation uniquely predicted externalizing problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)843-854
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


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