, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 231-244

Young Children's Responding to Interparental Conflict: Associations with Marital Aggression and Child Adjustment

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We designed this study to examine children's self-reported and observed emotional and behavioral responding to marital conflict as a potential mechanism linking marital physical aggression (as reported by the parents) and children's behavioral adjustment (as reported by their preschool teachers). In a sample of 48 preschoolers, parental marital physical aggression was positively associated with children's observed dysregulated responding to interparental conflict and negatively associated with children's self-reported behavioral disruption. Marital aggression and children's self-reported responding to marital conflict predicted teacher-reported behavior problems, with both variables adding unique variance. Our findings suggested a potential pathway linking exposure to marital conflict, children's regulatory strategies, and children's behavioral adjustment outside the home.