The impact of family stressors, interparental conflict, and parenting behaviors on children's overt and relational aggression: A focus on Korean families

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Child and Family Studies


Ambika Krishnakumar


Family stressors, Interparental conflict, Parenting, Children, Aggression, Korean

Subject Categories

Family, Life Course, and Society | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


The purpose of this study was to examine the processes through which family stressors such as negative stressful life events and daily hassles of family living influence aggressive behaviors of Korean school age children. Interparental conflict (overt conflict style) and parenting behaviors were conceptualized as playing an intervening role. Separate dimensions of parenting behaviors (psychological control, harsh discipline, and acceptance) and children's aggressive behaviors (overt and relational aggression) are included in this study. The sample included 349 mothers and children aged 11-12 years old. Mother and child report models were analyzed separately. In the mother report model, interparental conflict was found to be a significant mediator. That is, higher levels of family stressors were associated with higher levels of interparental conflict, which in turn, were related to children's overt and relational aggression. Parenting behaviors did not play an important role as a mediator in the relationship between interparental conflict and children's aggression. Mothers in the present study seemed able to compartmentalize and keep their feelings and negativity arising out of interparental conflict from affecting their parenting behaviors. In the child report model, interparental conflict was directly and indirectly related to children's overt and relational aggression through less effective parenting. Findings supported the spillover hypothesis that negative feelings of parents under conflictual marital relationships spillover into the mother-child relationship, and thus have an impact on children's overt and relational aggression.


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