Parental problem drinking, marital aggression, and child emotional insecurity: A longitudinal investigation

Peggy S. Keller, Lauren R. Gilbert, Kalsea J. Koss, E. Mark Cummings, Patrick T. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Marital aggression plays an important role in relations between parental problem drinking and child maladjustment. The purpose of the current study was to apply emotional security theory as a framework for understanding the role of marital aggression. Method: A community sample of 235 children in kindergarten participated once a year for 3 years. Parents completed measures of parental problem drinking and marital aggression, and children were interviewed about their emotional security reactions to marital confl ict vignettes. Results: Greater parental problem drinking was directly associated with children's more negative emotional reactions to confl ict. Maternal problem drinking predicted increased sad reactions and negative expectations for the future. Paternal problem drinking predicted increases in child anger reactions and negative expectations for the future. Parental problem drinking was also indirectly associated with child reactions via marital aggression. Conclusions: Results confi rmed hypotheses that parental problem drinking would be related to child emotional insecurity and that associations would be indirect via greater marital confl ict. Findings are interpreted in terms of emotional security theory as a framework for understanding the effects of parental problem drinking on marital aggression and child development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-722
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of studies on alcohol and drugs
Volume72
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2011

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