With the very high divorce rates in America, one could assume that this is a beneficial solution to marital conflict. However, according to Janie Sarrazin and Francine Cyr (2007) research shows that “24 to 33% of the families who go through a divorce continue to undergo significant conflicts lasting up to two years after the marital separation” (p.78). Despite issues, many parents decide to stay together, “for the children’s sake.” Some research has focused on comparing the effects of divorce with the effects of parental conflict on a child’s well being. As expected, results indicate that both divorce and marital conflict impact different areas of a child’s development. The intensity and area of development effected depends greatly on
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As marital conflict too often affects every one of the family members, for children, the exposure to this conflict is a major source of stress. Research has shown that exposure to parental conflict frequently provokes “increased cardiac rhythm, higher blood pressure, lower body temperature as well as frightened and anxious facial expressions (Cyr, Sarrazin, 2007, p.79). As early life events shape later life outcomes and experiences, stressful childhood family experiences can lead to attachment problems as an adult, magnification of stressful events as an adult, as well as problems with future relationships (Umberson, Williams, Powers, Lui, Needham, 2005).
Aside from the stress and anxiety derived from exposure, or witnessing parental conflict, research suggests that parents’ conflict can have devastating effects on the parent-child relationship as well (Howes, Markman, 1989). The social security model proposes that a child’s emotional security, derived from the parent-child relationship as well as the relationship between parents, is responsible for their emotional and cognitive reactions (Cyr, Sarrazin, 2007). Marital conflict can instill a negative “carry over” effect onto the interactions between parent and child. For example, after an intense argument with their spouse, parents will see