Disentangling Patterns of Influence: Marital Conflict and Adolescent Adjustment

Doctoral Dissertation


Guided by the developmental psychopathology framework, the present study sought to clarify the nature of the relationships between marital conflict and adolescent adjustment at each step in the causal chain. The characteristics of destructive marital conflict were examined to probe the nature of destructive conflict between couples; of particular interest in this regard was the concept of active and passive types of conflict. Several intervening variables in the broader context of emotional security were then examined in both mediation and moderated mediation models to clarify their role in the link between types of destructive conflict and adolescent adjustment. In addition, the present study moved beyond the traditional focus on internalizing and externalizing behavior problems to also examine the impact of exposure to destructive marital conflict on adolescents? social adjustment. Results indicated that active and passive conflict types were associated with different outcomes through different processes, contributing to attempts called for in the broader literature for increased precision in understanding the
heterogeneity of destructive conflict and lending support to conceptualizations about interindividual differences in the expression of emotional insecurity. The present study addresses a gap in the literature by focusing its inquiries into the nature of these processes as they unfold overtime on the period of adolescence, and has important implications for translational research efforts. Other implications of the current study and future directions are also discussed.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-06272013-150400

Author Kathleen Nanette Bergman
Advisor E. Mark Cummings
Contributor E. Mark Cummings, Committee Chair
Contributor Julia Braungart-Rieker, Committee Member
Contributor Daniel Lapsley, Committee Member
Contributor Kristin Valentino, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Psychology
Degree Name PhD
Defense Date
  • 2013-06-20

Submission Date 2013-06-27
  • United States of America

  • adolescence

  • marital conflict

  • emotional security

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility and Access Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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