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Pathways from infant exposure to marital conflict to parent-toddler role reversal.
Infant Ment Health J. 2008 Jul; 29(4):297-319.IM

Abstract

We know that exposure to marital conflict places infants at risk, but we know less about processes. One process may be role reversal, when a distressed parent looks to the child to meet unmet needs for comfort, intimacy, or companionship. A parent in marital conflict may be particularly prone to role reversal, which in turn adversely affects child development. The current study examined pathways from infants' exposure to marital conflict at 12 months to role reversal at 24 months. We sampled low-middle socioeconomic status (SES) families with their first child (N = 128). Independent observers assessed marital conflict (in a problem-solving task) and role reversal (in a story-telling task). We found that each parent's conflict behavior predicted the other parent's role reversal. In a direct pathway, mother's conflict behavior towards father led directly to father's role reversal with the child. In an indirect pathway, father's conflict behavior towards mother led to his withdrawal from her, which in turn led to mother's role reversal with the child. Clinical implications are discussed within a developmental psychopathology framework in terms of preventive interventions to offset the deleterious effect of marital conflict and role reversal on child development.

Authors+Show Affiliations

University of Tennessee at Knoxville.RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC.Center for Developmental Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.Center for Developmental Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

28636156

Citation

Macfie, Jenny, et al. "Pathways From Infant Exposure to Marital Conflict to Parent-toddler Role Reversal." Infant Mental Health Journal, vol. 29, no. 4, 2008, pp. 297-319.
Macfie J, Houts RM, Pressel AS, et al. Pathways from infant exposure to marital conflict to parent-toddler role reversal. Infant Ment Health J. 2008;29(4):297-319.
Macfie, J., Houts, R. M., Pressel, A. S., & Cox, M. J. (2008). Pathways from infant exposure to marital conflict to parent-toddler role reversal. Infant Mental Health Journal, 29(4), 297-319. https://doi.org/10.1002/imhj.20181
Macfie J, et al. Pathways From Infant Exposure to Marital Conflict to Parent-toddler Role Reversal. Infant Ment Health J. 2008;29(4):297-319. PubMed PMID: 28636156.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Pathways from infant exposure to marital conflict to parent-toddler role reversal. AU - Macfie,Jenny, AU - Houts,Renate M, AU - Pressel,Abigail S, AU - Cox,Martha J, PY - 2017/6/22/entrez PY - 2008/7/1/pubmed PY - 2008/7/1/medline SP - 297 EP - 319 JF - Infant mental health journal JO - Infant Ment Health J VL - 29 IS - 4 N2 - We know that exposure to marital conflict places infants at risk, but we know less about processes. One process may be role reversal, when a distressed parent looks to the child to meet unmet needs for comfort, intimacy, or companionship. A parent in marital conflict may be particularly prone to role reversal, which in turn adversely affects child development. The current study examined pathways from infants' exposure to marital conflict at 12 months to role reversal at 24 months. We sampled low-middle socioeconomic status (SES) families with their first child (N = 128). Independent observers assessed marital conflict (in a problem-solving task) and role reversal (in a story-telling task). We found that each parent's conflict behavior predicted the other parent's role reversal. In a direct pathway, mother's conflict behavior towards father led directly to father's role reversal with the child. In an indirect pathway, father's conflict behavior towards mother led to his withdrawal from her, which in turn led to mother's role reversal with the child. Clinical implications are discussed within a developmental psychopathology framework in terms of preventive interventions to offset the deleterious effect of marital conflict and role reversal on child development. SN - 1097-0355 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/28636156/Pathways_from_infant_exposure_to_marital_conflict_to_parent_toddler_role_reversal_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1002/imhj.20181 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -
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