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Cascading effects of interparental conflict in adolescence: Linking threat appraisals, self-efficacy, and adjustment

  • Gregory M. Fosco (a1) and Mark E. Feinberg (a1)


This study examined the longitudinal implications of adolescents' exposure to interparental conflict for their developmental success. In the proposed developmental cascade model, adolescents' perceptions of parental conflict as threatening is a risk factor for diminished self-efficacy, which would account for diminished adjustment. This study presents longitudinal data for 768 sixth-grade students and their families over four time points, ending in eighth grade. Analyses were conducted in three steps. First, replication of longitudinal support for threat as a mediator of the link between interparental conflict and emotional distress was found; however, findings did not support threat as a mediator of behavior problems or subjective well-being. Second, threat was found to mediate the longitudinal association between interparental conflict and self-efficacy. Third, a developmental cascade model supported a risk process in which interparental conflict was related to adolescents' threat appraisals, which undermined self-efficacy beliefs, and was then linked with emotional distress, behavior problems, and subjective well-being.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Greg Fosco, Human Development and Family Studies, 315 Health and Human Development East Building, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802; E-mail:


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Cascading effects of interparental conflict in adolescence: Linking threat appraisals, self-efficacy, and adjustment

  • Gregory M. Fosco (a1) and Mark E. Feinberg (a1)


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