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Abstract

The goal of this study was to explore the effects of marital conflict on conflict patterns in the family, and on family members’perceptions of one another. Sixty-eight two-parent families with adolescent twins participated, with parents reporting on the conflict patterns used by the marital dyad, and by themselves in interaction with each of their twins, and adolescent twins reporting on their interactions with each other. In addition, all four family members engaged in a videotaped decision-making interaction and then made global ratings of each other on five dimensions. Links were obtained between marital conflict patterns and parent-child conflict patterns, and between parent-child conflict patterns and those used in sibling relationships. In contrast, marital conflict patterns were unrelated to sibling conflict patterns. Similarly, links were found between marital conflict and fathers’perceptions of their children, and between father-child conflict and children's perceptions of each other. The results are discussed in terms of theoretical models of conflict resolution and the transmission of conflict patterns within the family.