It's Not <i>All</i> Your Parents' Fault: Mental Health as a Mediator between Interparental Conflict and Conflict Resolution
Devine, Diana M
Kolak, Amy M
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Ample research suggests that interparental conflict, regardless of marital status, has important implications for children’s mental health and relationships with parents. Further, research suggests that children may model parents’ conflict resolution strategies in resolving conflicts with both parents and peers. Few studies, however, have examined how interparental conflict affects young adults’ conflict resolution within their romantic relationships; therefore, in the current study, relations between interparental conflict, mental health and conflict resolution strategies among emerging adults were examined. This study also examined associations among divorce, interparental conflict, mental health, personal conflict resolution strategies, and perceptions of healthy and unhealthy conflict resolution. One hundred and fifty-two college students rated interparental conflict during childhood, current depression and anxiety symptoms, and personal conflict resolution strategies. Participants also rated the frequency of both positive and negative conflict resolution strategies employed in six scenarios developed for the current study. We found that mental health mediated the relationship between interparental conflict and personal conflict resolution strategies. We also found significant associations among variables of interest and perceptions of healthy and unhealthy conflict resolution. Implications of parental behavior during conflict on mental health and behavior within relationships will be discussed. Directions for future research on emerging adults’ conflict resolution will be introduced.