The Shaping Role of Predivorce and Postdivorce Interparental Conflict

Divorce has been conceptualized as a process. Research has extensively demonstrated that it is pre/postdivorce family environment factors that primarily account for the variability in children’s adaptation over parental divorce process rather than the legal divorce per se. Amongst various factors, interparental conflict has been consistently identified as a prominent one. Surprisingly, a single source is still lacking that comprehensively synthesizes the extant findings. This review fills this gap by integrating the numerous findings across studies into a more coherent Divorce Process and Child Adaptation Trajectory Typology (DPCATT) Model to illustrate that pre/postdivorce interparental conflict plays crucial roles in shaping child adaptation trajectories across parental divorce process. This review also summarizes the mechanisms (e.g., child cognitive and emotional processes, coparenting, parent-child relations) via which pre/postdivorce interparental conflict determines these trajectories and the factors (e.g., child gender and age, child coping, grandparental support) that interact with pre/postdivorce interparental conflict to further complicate these trajectories. In addition, echoing the call of moving beyond the monolithic conceptualization of pre/postdivorce interparental conflict, we also review studies on the differential implications of different aspects (e.g., frequency versus intensity) and types (e.g., overt versus covert) of interparental conflict for child adjustment. Last, limitations of prior studies and avenues for future research are discussed. The proposed framework may serve as a common knowledge base for researchers to compare/interpret results, detect cutting edges of the fields, and design new studies. The specificity, complexity, nuance, and diversity inherent within our proposed model await to be more fully revealed.

Author: Linda Turner

Coaching and Therapy Currently studying Psychotherapy , Cognitive psychology, Hypnotherapy. Qualified NLP, EMDR and CBT therapist. REIKI Master. I believe in truth, honesty and integrity! ≧◔◡◔≦

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