Parental Conflict Produces More Than Fleeting Distress for Children
Six-year-olds whose parents displayed frequent disagreements in their relationship responded to subsequent parental conflicts with elevated distress and negative thoughts, according to a team of researchers from the University of Rochester and the University of Notre Dame.
In the latest issue of the journal Child Development, the team reported examining 223 children twice during a one-year period for their reactions to conflicts between their parents. First, their mothers and fathers participated alone in an exercise in which they attempted to manage and resolve a common point of disagreement. The researchers rated the parents level of hostility or indifference to capture the characteristic ways that parents managed their conflicts. Then the children observed their parents working through two simulated telephone conversations: a short conflict and a resolution.
Researchers found that the ways parents managed conflicts in the exercise predicted how children responded to the simulated phone conflict—both within a two-week period and one year later. Parents who displayed high levels of discord had children who responded with greater than expected distress to the simulated phone conflict.
"The stressfulness of witnessing several different types of conflict may have long-term implications for childrens functioning by directly altering their patterns of responding to those conflicts," says Patrick T. Davies, lead author and professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. "Our results highlight the possibility that several different types of conflict between parents may negatively affect the well-being of children over time," he says.
According to the authors, prior experiences with parental conflicts can alter the way children cope with later conflicts. "Conflict between parents may have distinct meanings and implications for the child and family system even after considering the effects of parenting difficulties," Davies points out.
Although previous work has shown that children dont get used to their parents discord but, instead, become more sensitive to it, Davies and his colleagues wondered if different forms of destructive conflict between parents played different roles in childrens reactions. It didnt matter whether the adults disagreed in openly hostile ways or appeared indifferent during the arguments. Both ways of managing conflict were linked with higher than expected distress in children that lasted even one year later.
The primary purpose of the study was to chart stability and change in childrens responses to a conflict in the context of interparental and family interactions in the early elementary years. The authors believe that the study lays the foundation for new testing on how children adapt when dealing with interparental conflict.
Co-authors are Melissa L. Sturge-Apple, Marcia Winter, and Deirdre Farrell of the University of Rochesters Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology at the time of the study, and E. Mark Cummings, professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame. The research was supported by grants and fellowships from the National Institute of Mental Health.
About the University of Rochester
The University of Rochester is one of the nations leading private universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the Universitys environment gives students exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty. Its College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering is complemented by the Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, and Schools of Medicine and Nursing.
Jonathan Sherwood | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
New technique promises tunable laser devices
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...