Inter-Parental Conflict: The Effects on Child Development and Interventions to Improve Child Outcomes
Zhang, Xi (Cecilia)
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Family environment including inter-parental relationship is increasingly recognized as an important factor in child development. Historically, most research has focused on the impacts of parental divorce or separation and domestic violence. This study examines the link between inter-parental relationship and child outcomes and interventions that are effective in improving child outcomes. It addresses the current research gap by focusing on inter-parental conflict that does not involve domestic violence and examining the impact on children in intact families. A number of studies were reviewed, and evidence was discussed. Results revealed that inter-parental conflict is linked to a range of adverse child outcomes, which were explained by different factors that may be at play. Studies also showed that interventions that are effective in addressing adverse impact on children focus on improving both parenting and couple relationships. The current study highlights the importance of assessing inter-parental relationship and engaging parents in child interventions and designing programs to address factors in the family environment that may impede the child’s development and growth.