Date of Award

5-2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Anne McIntyre

Committee Members

Debora Baldwin, Cheryl Buehler, Kristina Coop-Gordon

Abstract

In an effort to capture college students’ (N = 331, average age = 18.9 years, SD = 1.5 years, 87% Caucasian, 74% have married parents) perceptions of conflict between their parents, the Parental Marital Questionnaire (PMQ) was developed in Study 1 of this investigation. The PMQ demonstrated good full-scale reliability (α = .90) and good reliabilities for its three factors (Intensity α = .96, Negative Affect α = .94, and Support α = .96). Further, the PMQ also showed consistent validity with 9 established measures of family and marital relationships. Taken together, the results of Study 1 suggest that the PMQ is a valid and reliable measure of college student’s perceptions of interparental conflict between their parents. Study 2 used an independent sample of college students having at least one sibling (N = 207, average age = 19.6 years, SD = 4.1 years, 83% Caucasian, 93% have parents who are married) to confirm the factor structure of the PMQ, as determined in Study 1, and to explore the association between interparental conflict and sibling relationship quality. Again, the PMQ showed good full-scale reliability (α = .89) and the same factor structure (subscale alphas for the Study 2 sample were: Intensity α = .97, Negative Affect α = .95, and Support α = .96) as in Study 1. Finally, the ratings on two sibling relationship scales; The Brother-Sister Questionnaire (BSQ; 1994) and a scale developed by Cicirelli (1980); were compared to PMQ subscale ratings. Correlational procedures show that the relationships of siblings in three age difference groupings (closest in age to the respondent [SIB1], next closest in age to the respondent [SIB2], and furthest in age from the respondent [SIB3]) on the two sibling relationship measures were negatively affected by perceptions of higher levels marital conflict between parents, and positively affected by perceptions of support between parents. Results of Study 2 confirmed the factor structure of the PMQ found in Study 1, and indicate that siblings who perceive higher levels of marital conflict between their parents have more difficult relationships with one another.

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