ERIC Number: EJ717847
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Apr
Reference Count: 62
Children's Perceived Agency in the Context of Marital Conflict: Relations with Marital Conflict over Time
Schermerhorn, Alice C.; Cummings, E. Mark; Davies, Patrick T.
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Journal of Developmental Psychology, v51 n2 p121-144 Apr 2005
Consistent with the bidirectional perspective on parent-child relations, the current study examined children's perceptions of agency in the context of marital conflict. A storytelling task was completed by 11 5 five-year-old children, tapping perceived agency. These children and their mothers and fathers completed measures of marital conflict at two time points. Consistent with clinical theory and research (e.g., Emery, 1989, 1999) and with theory about negative emotionality as related to children's motivation for agency (e.g., Davies & Cummings, 1994), destructive marital conflict predicted more negative child emotional reactivity, which predicted greater child perceived agency. By contrast, children's perceived agency at Time 1 was negatively related to marital conflict at Time 2. The results supported the hypothesis that children's perceived agency about marital conflict relates to reduced marital conflict over time, controlling for initial level of marital conflict. Implications for dynamic conceptualizations of children's agency from a family-wide perspective are discussed.
Descriptors: Conflict, Parent Child Relationship, Marital Instability, Young Children, Attitude Measures, Emotional Response, Predictor Variables
Wayne State University Press, The Leonard N. Simons Building, 4809 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201-1309. Tel: 800-978-7323 (Toll Free); Fax: 313-577-6131.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A