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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-40252

Stadelmann, S; Perren, S; Groeben, M; von Klitzing, K (2010). Parental separation and children’s behavioral/emotional problems: the impact of parental representations and family conflict. Family Process, 49(1):92-108.

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In this longitudinal study, we examine whether the effect of parental separation on kindergarten children’s behavioral/emotional problems varies according to the level of family conflict, and children’s parental representations. One hundred and eighty seven children were assessed at ages 5 and 6. Family conflict was assessed using parents’ ratings. Children’s parental representations were assessed using a story-stem task. A multiinformant approach (parent, teacher, child) was employed to assess children’s be- havioral/emotional problems. Bivariate results showed that separation, family conflict, and negative parental representations were associated with children’s behavioral/emo- tional problems. However, in multivariate analyses, when controlling for gender and symptoms at age 5, we found that children of separated parents who showed negative parental representations had a significantly greater increase in conduct problems between 5 and 6 than all other children. In terms of emotional symptoms and hyperactivity, symptoms at 5 and (for hyperactivity only) gender were the only predictors for symptoms 1 year later. Our results suggest that kindergarten children’s representations of parent- child relationships moderate the impact of parental separation on the development of conduct problems, and underline play and narration as a possible route to access the thoughts and feelings of young children faced with parental separation.


10 citations in Web of Science®
16 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
Dewey Decimal Classification:370 Education
Deposited On:28 Jan 2011 10:57
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:28
Publisher DOI:10.1111/j.1545-5300.2010.01310.x

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