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Observed Infant Reactions During Live Interparental Conflict

Authors


  • This article was edited by Cheryl Buehler.

Department of Psychology, MS 9172, 516 High Street, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9172 (tina.schudlich@wwu.edu).

Abstract

Associations between interparental conflict and infant reactions were examined. Infants' history of exposure to interparental conflict and infant reactive temperament were examined as moderators. A community sample of 74 infants, aged 6–14 months, participated with their parents. Behavioral observations were made of parents' marital conflict and their infants' reactions. Parents reported on their emotional states during conflict, infants' history of exposure to interparental conflict, and infant temperament. Multilevel modeling indicated that infants showed differential responses to marital conflict; destructive and depressive conflict were associated with increased infant discussion attending and negative reactions, whereas constructive conflict was associated with decreased discussion attending and negative reactions. Infants' history of exposure to marital conflict and infant reactive temperament emerged as moderators.

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