Parents' versus children's perceptions of interparental conflict as predictors of children's friendship quality


Grych and Fincham's (1990) cognitive-contextual model highlights children's perceptions as potential influences on the extent to which interparental conflict is associated with negative child outcomes. We asked children (n = 40, age 8-12 years), mothers, and fathers to report on multiple dimensions of interparental conflict. As predicted, family members showed greater correspondence in their ratings of the overt properties of conflict than in their ratings of children's subjective distress in response to the conflict. Compared with parents' perceptions, children's perceptions of interparental conflict showed stronger and more consistent associations with multiple dimensions of friendship quality. The results provide further evidence of the utility of assessing children's perceptions of marital conflict, rather than relying solely on parents' reports.

Publication Title

Journal of Social and Personal Relationships