Family Conflict Typology, Maternal Engagement, and Early Childhood Adjustment: A Latent Class Analysis
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
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Family conflict is a broad construct which can encompass violent and non-violent types of conflict. Problematic child outcomes have been associated with exposure to violent and nonviolent forms of inter-parental conflict, and research suggests infants and young children may be at heightened risk, though not all who witness family conflict will experience maladjustment. Theorized mechanisms of varying outcomes (e.g., through parenting practices) are unaligned, and previous related studies have ambiguously defined the construct of family conflict. The present study utilized latent class analysis to identify five family conflict typologies among a sample of unwed mothers of young children (N = 1164). Using these typologies, a multigroup path analysis was employed to better understand how family conflict may differentially impact maternal child outcomes. Results suggest that maternal engagement may be a protective factor for children’s adjustment, but that mothers in conflictual families may struggle to engage their children in positive ways.