Profiles of cognitive appraisals and triangulation into interparental conflict: Implications for adolescent adjustment

J Fam Psychol. 2016 Aug;30(5):533-42. doi: 10.1037/fam0000192. Epub 2016 Mar 10.


Youth appraisals and triangulation into conflicts are key mechanisms by which interparental conflict places youth at risk for psychological maladjustment. Although evidence suggests that there are multiple mechanisms at work (e.g., Fosco & Feinberg, 2015; Grych, Harold, & Miles, 2003), this body of work has relied on variable-centered analyses that are limited to the unique contributions of each process to the variance in outcomes. In reality, it is possible that different combinations of these risk mechanisms may account for multifinality in risk outcomes. Using latent profile analysis (LPA) we examined profiles of threat appraisals, self-blaming attributions, and triangulation in relation to internalizing and externalizing problems in a sample of 285, ethnically diverse high school students. The current analyses revealed 5 distinct profiles of appraisals and triangulation, including an overall low-risk group and a global high-risk group, in which all 3 processes were below average or above average, respectively. Additional profiles included combinations of threat and blame, threat and triangulation, and blame and triangulation. Links between these profiles and emotional distress, problem behavior, and academic outcomes are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / classification
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Family Conflict / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • Problem Behavior / psychology*
  • Young Adult