Prospective Effects of Interparental Conflict on Child Attachment Security and the Moderating Role of Parents' Romantic Attachment

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Abstract

This study investigated the impact of parents' observed conflict behavior on subsequent child attachment security, both as a main effect and as moderated by parents' romantic attachment. Participants were 80 heterosexual couples involving men from the Oregon Youth Study and their first-born children. The authors used hierarchical linear modeling to predict child security with each parent. Interparental psychological aggression predicted lower child security with father, regardless of romantic attachment. If the father was insecure, interparental positive engagement predicted lower child security with him. If either the mother or father was avoidant, interparental withdrawal did not predict lower child security, though it did for more secure parents. Results are discussed in terms of implications of attachment-(in)congruent behavior for parents' emotional availability.

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