Leicester psychologist explores how family conflict affects children
New research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and carried out by Professor Gordon Harold (pictured) of the School of Psychology reveals why some children are badly affected by negative family conflicts while other children survive without significant problems.
The research found that the way in which children understood the conflicts between their parents had different effects on their emotional and behavioural problems. Where children blamed themselves for the conflicts between their parents, they were more likely to have behavioural problems, such as anti-social behaviour.
But if their parents' fighting or arguing led to a child feeling threatened, or fearful that the family would split up, the child was more likely to experience emotional problems, such as depression.
The study highlighted the importance of ensuring that intervention programmes focused on helping parents to resolve these day-to-day conflicts with their partner, while also reiterating the importance of promoting positive parenting strategies.