Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 39–59 | Cite as

Child Exposure to Marital Conflict and Child Coping Responses as Predictors of Child Adjustment

  • Mary O'Brien
  • Mudita A. Bahadur
  • Christina Gee
  • Kathy Balto
  • Stephanie Erber


This study examined the influence of children's exposure to marital conflict and children's coping responses to marital conflict on child adjustment. Forty-three mother–child dyads and 38 of the children's teachers participated in this investigation. Preadolescent children reported the marital conflict they witnessed, their coping responses to marital conflict, and their feelings of depression and global self-worth, while mothers reported their marital conflict and children's internalizing and externalizing behavior problems and teachers reported children's internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. Hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to examine the contribution of demographic, marital conflict, and child coping variables to the prediction of child adjustment. The results indicated that aggressive marital conflict was predictive of children's feelings of low self-worth, mother's reports of child externalizing behavior problems, and teacher's reports of child internalizing behavior problems. Moreover, child coping factors contributed unique variances to the prediction of child reports of child depression and teacher reports of child externalizing behavior problems after marital conflict and demographic variables were considered.

marital conflict child coping child adjustment 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary O'Brien
    • 1
  • Mudita A. Bahadur
    • 1
  • Christina Gee
    • 1
  • Kathy Balto
    • 1
  • Stephanie Erber
    • 1
  1. 1.New York UniversityUSA.

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