Adolescent and Parental Perceptions of Interparental Conflict

Melanie Davern, Petra Staiger, Ernest Luk

Abstract


Research indicates adolescent adjustment problems are associated with high levels of interparental conflict. This study examined parents’ and adolescents’ perceptions of interparental conflict and the relationship of these perceptions to adolescent adjustment through a survey of adolescent secondary students and their parents. Sixty-two adolescents and 62 parents participated in the study. Adolescents completed three self-report measures of psychological adjustment, a demographic questionnaire and the Consensus and Cohesion subscales of the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS). Parents completed the same subscales of the DAS and a demographic questionnaire. There were no significant differences between the levels of interparental conflict perceived by adolescents and parents. However, adolescent perceptions of interparental conflict were a better predictor of adolescent psychological adjustment when compared to parental perceptions of conflict. The results of this study emphasise the importance of adolescent perceptions of interparental conflict, and provide support for both parental and adolescent reports of family functioning to be taken into account in future clinical studies.

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Keywords

Adjustment; adolescents; interparental conflict; family functioning



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ISSN 1832-7931
Swinburne University of Technology