Family Conflict in Childhood and Adolescence and Depressive Symptoms in Emerging Adulthood: Mediation by Disengagement Coping

Danielle S. Roubinov, Linda Luecken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Exposure to family conflict in childhood increases risk for later life psychological maladjustment. The family environment shapes the development of coping strategies used to manage interpersonal stressors, representing a pathway through which adverse family experiences impact later emotional functioning. In 2 studies, we evaluated engagement and disengagement coping as mediators of the relation between family conflict in childhood and depressive symptoms in young adulthood. Study 1 included participants from continuously married families exposed to higher and lower quality childhood family environments and found that disengagement partially mediated the relation between family conflict and depressive symptoms. Study 2 examined these relations among emerging adults who experienced parental divorce. Results indicated that disengagement coping fully mediated the relation between family conflict and depression. Engagement did not emerge as a mediator in either study. Elevated family conflict across varying family structures might be associated with poor adjustment via disengaged responses to stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-595
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Divorce and Remarriage
Volume54
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013

Keywords

  • depression
  • disengagement coping
  • emerging adults
  • engagement coping
  • family conflict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Law

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