The relationship of interparental conflict and global marital adjustment to aggression, anxiety, and immaturity in aggressive and nonclinic children

J Abnorm Child Psychol. 1991 Oct;19(5):553-67. doi: 10.1007/BF00925820.


Although there is agreement that marital problems are associated either directly or indirectly with particular child behavior problems, there is disagreement about the types of marital conflict associated with these problems and the differential effects on boys and girls in clinic and nonclinic samples. We examined the relationships among mothers' ratings of marital adjustment, parenting disagreements, and three child problem factors (aggression, anxiety, and immaturity) after the child's age and family socioeconomic status were controlled. These relationships were compared with samples of boys and girls (3 to 8 years of age) from clinic and nonclinic populations, revealing that parenting disagreement predicted aggression in all groups and that both marital adjustment and parenting disagreement predicted anxiety in boys. Neither marital variable predicted immaturity. Possible reasons for the results (including methodological limitations of the present data) are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology*
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality Development*
  • Socialization