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Day-to-Day and Long-term Spillover of Interparental Conflict to Mother-Adolescent Conflict: The Mediating Role of Mood

Sat, March 23, 12:45 to 2:15pm, Baltimore Convention Center, Floor: Level 3, Room 320

Integrative Statement

The spillover hypothesis for family conflict posits that conflict in the marital relationship predicts conflict in the parent-child relationship in the same family. Even though extant research supported the spillover hypothesis, conclusions are often based on comparing families with each other (between-family differences), rather than focusing on within-family processes. In addition, although daily diary studies typically do focus on the within-family level, they most often investigate same-day associations between interparental and parent-adolescent conflict, rather than time-lagged effects of the former on the latter (or vice versa). Additionally, despite mood being a proximal influence and outcome of conflict, little is known about the role that negative mood plays in the spillover of interparental conflict. This study investigated the day-to-day and year-to-year, within-family cross-lagged associations among interparental conflict and mother-adolescent conflict, as well as the mediating role of maternal and adolescent sadness and anger, using daily assessments. Data consisted of five waves of an ongoing study with 497 Dutch adolescents (M = 13.03, 43.1% girls), and their mothers. During these waves, daily diaries were collected for fifteen days per year (75 daily diaries in total). Random-Intercept Cross-Lagged Panel Models were used to investigate year-to-year spillover, and Dynamic Structural Equation Modeling to investigate day-to-day spillover. Spillover of interparental conflict on mother-adolescent conflict was only found on the year-to-year analyses, but not on the day-to-day analyses. No mediation by mood was found, but significant between- and within-person associations among sadness and anger with conflict emerged. Additionally, significant variance around the null day-to-day spillover indicated that for some families interparental conflict does spillover on mother-adolescent conflict on the daily level as well. This study sheds light on the spillover of interparental conflict on mother-adolescent conflict by showing that spillover can be more pronounced in the long run, whereas significant differences between families exist in how daily life experiences of conflict evolve.