Another Study Shows Parental Conflict Has Negative Affect On Teens

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Another Study Shows Parental Conflict Has Negative Affect On Teens

The findings of this study, again underscores the importance of spouses maintaining a healthy marriage in order to raise healthy children. According to the study, adolescents living in homes where there is frequent conflict between mom and dad, fare no better than kids raised in blended family or single parent homes.

The research is clear: Adolescents tend to fare better -- academically and behaviorally -- when they live with both biological parents. But when their parents frequently argue, young adults are significantly more likely to binge drink than other teenagers. They also tend to smoke, and their poor school grades are similar to those of their peers who don't have both biological parents at home.

"Our findings suggest that exposure to parental conflict in adolescence is associated with poorer academic achievement, increased substance use and early family formation and dissolution, often in ways indistinguishable from living in a stepfather or single-mother family," said Kelly Musick, Cornell associate professor of policy analysis and management.

"Our results clearly illustrate that the advantages of living with two continuously married parents are not shared equally by all children," said Musick. "Compared with children in low-conflict families, children from high-conflict families are more likely to drop out of school, have poor grades, smoke, binge drink, use marijuana, have early sex, be young and unmarried when they have a child and then experience the breakup of that relationship."

"The odds of binge drinking are about a third higher for children from high-conflict families compared to single-mother families," Musick said.

The bottom line, she said, is that children in high-conflict married households tend to do no better than those in stepfather and single-mother families.

The full report, "Are Both Parents Always Better Than One? Parental Conflict and Young Adult Well-Being," is available as a PDF.

Source: Science Daily

For helpful information on strengthening your marriage and resolving conflict, see the following resources on the website:

10 Ways to Transform Your Marriage

Tips for Resolving Conflict in Your Marriage

VIDEO - Barriers to Conflict Resolution

VIDEO - More Barriers to Conflict Resolution