An examination of the differential relationship of marital discord to parents' discipline strategies for boys and girls

Mark R. Dadds*, Jeannie K. Sheffield, John F. Holbeck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous research has tentatively indicated that coercive, ineffective parenting might have a mediating role in the differential impact of marital discord on boys and girls. To further explore this role, we examined the relationship between children's perceptions of marital discord and their evaluations of parental discipline techniques. Ninety-one children aged 8 to 13 years (mean age: 11 years 4 months) were split into high, moderate, and low perceived marital discord on the basis of their responses to the Children's Perceptions Questionnaire (Emery & O'Leary, 1982). The children rated how coercive they believed both mothers and fathers would and should be in three discipline situations. Children with high marital discord indicated that both mothers and fathers would and should use more coercive behavior than did children with low marital discord. The effects of marital discord were stronger for boys than for girls. All children also believed that fathers would and should be more coercive than mothers. Results are discussed in relation to the effects of marital discord on children's social development with regard to sex of the child.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-129
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1990
Externally publishedYes

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