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Children's Emotional and Behavioral Effects of Martial Conflict

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Exposure to Marital Conflict and Violence and Children’s Emotional and Behavioral Effects

Exposure to marital conflict and violence is linked with negative emotional and behavioral problems among children. It is well established that the effects are unfortunate in children’s development. Internalizing (emotional) and externalizing (behavioral) symptoms are common for children who come from homes with marital conflict and violence. Along with both symptoms poor academic conduct is also huge issue. Emery (1982, cited in Glaser, Glass, Horne, & Marks, 2001) states conflict that is openly hostile is characterized as the most upsetting. Conflicts without resolution have the greatest negative impact and leave long term and short term consequences.

As a child being raised in a disturbed home, they can only try to make sense of their surroundings. The cognitive contextual framework proposes that how a child judges their parents marital relationship plays a key role. The way they judge this determines the impact of the conflict on their own development. Another theory is the developmental psychopathology framework which offers an integrative framework for conceptualizing the course of development during adolescence, in this case studying the exposure to marital conflict and violence.

The prevalence of divorce is high in the United States, half of all marriages end this way, but marital conflict and violence is not always accounted for. However, conflict and violence can be related to divorce making the likeliness of conflict a high percentage. Looking at numbers leads to the statistics of gender differences. Boys and girls differ in some aspects of internalizing and externalizing symptoms, but bother are affected. Along wi...

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...riedman, S. (2007). Clinically Significant Trauma Symptoms and Behavioral Problems in a Community-based Sample of Children Exposed to Domestic Violence. Journal of Family Violence, 22, 487-499. doi: 10.1007/s10896-007-9113-z

Wolfe, D. A., Crooks, C. V., Lee, V., McIntyre-Smith, A., & Jaffe, P. G. (2003). The Effects of Children's Exposure to Domestic Violence: A Meta-Analysis and Critique. Clinical Child & Family Psychology Review, 6(3), 171-187. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Zimet, D. M., & Jacob, T. (2001). Influences of Marital Conflict on Child Adjustment: Review of Theory and Research. Clinical Child & Family Psychology Review, 4(4), 319-335. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

Wu, Zheng, Hou, Feng, & Schimmele, Christoph M. (2008). Family Structure and Children’s Psychosocial Outcomes. Journal of Family Issues, 29(12), 1600-1624.

doi: 10.1177/0192513X08322818
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