Exposure to interparental conflict and psychological disorder among young adults

Academic Article


  • This article examines the effect of exposure to interparental conflict on the mental health of young adults. Based on a diverse sample of 649 students from three New England colleges, the authors investigate the association between nonviolent interparental conflict during childhood, subsequent distress and disorder, and identified factors that mediate the relationship. Results indicate that exposure to interparental conflict significantly increases the odds of experiencing a subsequent episode of major depressive disorder and alcohol abuse or dependency disorder, controlling for demographic factors, parental divorce, and any incident of parent to parent or parent to child physical assault. Exposure to interparental conflict in childhood or adolescence is also associated with current levels of depressive symptoms in young adults. This association is partially mediated by ongoing strain in parent and child relationships, greater strain within offspring’s own romantic relationships, and reduced self-esteem. Implications of these findings are discussed.
  • Authors

  • Turner, Heather
  • Kopiec, K
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • February 2006
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In


  • interparental conflict
  • mental health
  • self-esteem
  • stress
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 131
  • End Page

  • 158
  • Volume

  • 27
  • Issue

  • 2