Skip to main content
Log in

Self-perceived and independently observed competence of young adolescents as a function of parental marital conflict and recent divorce

  • Published:
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

The self-perceived and independently observed cognitive and social competence of young adolescents as a function of parental conflict and recent divorce was investigated. Subjects were 40 young adolescents between the ages of 11 years 1 month and 15 years 1 month. A 2×2 factorial design was used, with the independent variables being parental marital status (married vs. recently divorced) and parental conflict (high vs. low). Dependent variables included the following measures of adolescent competence: adolescent-completed measures of self-perceived competence, teacher-completed measures, behavioral observations, and school grades. The results indicated that the level of parental conflict, rather than parental marital status, appears to be the critical variable associated with adolescents' independently observed levels of cognitive and social competence. In regard to adolescents' self-perceived levels of cognitive and social competence, parental marital status was found to be the critical variable. The implications of these findings are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Asarnow, J. R., & Callan, J. W. (1985). Boys with peer adjustment problems: Social cognitive processes.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 53, 80–87.

    Google Scholar 

  • Atkeson, B. M., Forehand, R., & Rickard, K. M. (1982). The effects of divorce on children. In B. B. Lahey & A. E. Kazdin (Eds.),Advances in clinical child psychology (Vol. 5, pp. 255–281). New York: Plenum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Berg, B., & Kelley, R. (1979). The measured self-esteem of children from broken, rejected, and accepted families.Journal of Divorce, 2, 363–369.

    Google Scholar 

  • Blechman, E. A. (1984). Competent parents, competent children: Behavioral objectives in parent training. In R. A. Danger & R. A. Polster (Eds.),Parent training (pp. 34–66). New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bowlby, J. (1973).Attachment and loss; Separation (Vol. 2). New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Crowne, D. P., & Marlowe, D. (1960). A new scale of social desirability independent of psychopathology.Journal of Consulting Psychology, 24, 349–354.

    Google Scholar 

  • Czikszentmihalyi, M., & Larson, R. (1984).Being adolescent: Conflict and growth in the teenage years. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Deluty, R. H. (1983). Children's evaluations of aggressive, assertive, and submissive responses.Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 12, 124–129.

    Google Scholar 

  • Emery, R. E. (1982). Interparental conflict and the children of discord and divorce.Psychological Bulletin, 92, 310–330.

    Google Scholar 

  • Harter, S. (1982). The Perceived Competence Scale for Children.Child Development, 53, 87–97.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hess, R. D., & Holloway, S. D. (1984). Family and school as educational institutions. In R. D. Parke (Ed.),The family (pp. 179–222). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Montemayor, R. (1983). Parents and adolescents in conflict: All families some of the time and some families most of the time.Journal of Early Adolescence, 3, 83–103.

    Google Scholar 

  • Myers, J. K., & Bean, L. J. (1968).A decade later: A follow-up of social class and mental illness. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  • O'Leary, K. D., & Emery, R. E. (1984). Marital discord and child behavior problems. In M. D. Levine & P. Satz (Eds.),Middle childhood: Development and dysfunction (pp. 345–364). Baltimore: University Park Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Olson, C. L. (1976). On choosing a test statistic in multivariate analyses of variance.Psychological Bulletin, 84, 579–586.

    Google Scholar 

  • Parish, T. S., & Dostal, J. W. (1980). Evaluation of self and parent figures by children from intact, divorced, and reconstituted families.Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 9, 347–351.

    Google Scholar 

  • Parish, T. S., & Taylor, J. (1979). The impact of divorce and subsequent father absence on children's and adolescents' self-concepts.Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 8, 427–432.

    Google Scholar 

  • Patterson, G. R., & Stouthamer-Loeber, M. (1984). The correlation of family management practices and delinquency.Child Development, 33, 1299–1307.

    Google Scholar 

  • Porter, B., & O'Leary, K. D. (1980). Marital discord and childhood behavior problems.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 8, 287–295.

    Google Scholar 

  • Quay, H. C., & Peterson, D. R. (1983).Interim manual for the Revised Behavior Problem Checklist. Unpublished manuscript, University of Miami.

  • Robin, A. L., & Canter, W. (1984). A comparison of the marital interaction coding system and community ratings for assessing mother-adolescent problem-solving.Behavioral Assessment, 6, 303–313.

    Google Scholar 

  • Slater, E. J., & Haber, J. D. (1984). Adolescent adjustment following divorce as a function of familial conflict.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 52, 920–921.

    Google Scholar 

  • Steinfeld, B. I., Foster, S. L., Prinz, R. J., Robin, A. L., & Weiss, J. (1983).Issues of conflict for mothers and adolescents: A descriptive and developmental analysis. Unpublished manuscript.

  • Wallerstein, J. S. (1985). Children of divorce: Preliminary report of a ten-year follow-up of older children and adolescents.Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 24, 545–553.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wiggins, J. S. (1983).Personality and prediction: Principles of personality assessment. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Additional information

This research was supported by the William T. Grant Foundation and the University of Georgia's Institute for Behavioral Research.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Long, N., Forehand, R., Fauber, R. et al. Self-perceived and independently observed competence of young adolescents as a function of parental marital conflict and recent divorce. J Abnorm Child Psychol 15, 15–27 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00916463

Download citation

  • Revised:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00916463

Keywords

Navigation