Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Ecology

Major Professor

Cheryl Buehler

Committee Members

Delores Smith, Priscilla Blanton, William Poppen


Marital conflict is associated with youth problem behavior both directly and indirectly through disruptions in parenting. This study used self-report questionnaires to examine the linkages among youth perceptions of covert and overt interparental conflict styles, disrupted parenting behaviors, and youth problem behavior. It was hypothesized that disrupted parenting composed of five parenting behaviors—psychological intrusion, intraparental inconsistency, low warmth/support, inadequate behavioral monitoring, and harsh punishment- would intervene in the association between hostile interparental conflict and youth problem behavior.

Participants were 337 youth aged 10 to 15. Self-report measures included the Achenbach CBCL (youth problem behavior) as well as covert and overt conflict style and parenting behavior items that were either written for this study or adapted from other sources. Multiple hierarchical regression was used to examine the associations among youth perceptions of hostile interparental conflict, disrupted parenting, and youth problem behavior.

The results indicated that covert and overt interparental conflict styles were associated with youth problem behavior not only directly but also indirectly through youth perceptions of disrupted parenting. The strongest and most consistent linkages involved intraparental inconsistency. Intraparental in consistency transmitted part of the effect of both covert and overt interparental.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."