Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Psychology: Clinical-Counseling Psychology
RenÃ©e M. Tobin
Children are increasingly being raised in environments that threaten healthy development, but there are children who develop well in spite of these threats, and there are factors within children's lives that can ameliorate the negative influence of these threats some of the time (Condly, 2006; Masten, 2001; Werner, 1993). Interparental conflict is one factor that can contribute to threatening healthy development and, indeed, has been linked with a variety of negative outcomes for children, including internalizing and externalizing behaviors (Gonzales, Pitts, Hill, & Roosa, 2000; Ingoldsby, Shaw, Owens, & Winslow, 1999; Rhoades, 2008). Religion has been studied as a contributing factor to positive development for adolescents, but little research has been conducted regarding the relations among religion and children's social-emotional outcomes (Abdel-Khalek, 2007; French, Eisenberg, Vaughn, Purwono, & Suryanti, 2008; Holmes & Lochman, 2012). I hypothesized that parent religiosity would function as a resilience factor influencing the relation between interparental conflict and childhood internalizing and externalizing behaviors. A total of 219 parents (80.20% female) of children ages 5 to 11 years completed an online survey that included the Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality (Fetzer Institute, 1999), Conflicts and Problem-Solving Scale (Kerig, 1996), the Pediatric Symptom Checklist (Murphy & Jellinek, 1988), and the General Family Functioning scale of the McMaster Family Assessment Device (Epstein, Baldwin, & Bishop, 1983). Parent participants self-identified as primarily Christian (73.06%), but also included those who identified as Buddhist (5.93%), Hindu (1.37%), Jewish (6.39%), Muslim (2.74%), not affiliated with any religion (6.85%), and "other" (3.65%). Results replicated the previous significant relation between interparental conflict and childhood internalizing and externalizing behaviors, but provided no evidence that religiosity moderated this relation. To the contrary, I found that religiosity may function as a risk factor for internalizing and externalizing behaviors at high levels of family distress.
Wills, Alexandra Michelle, "Half the Art of Living: the Influence of Religion on the Relation between Interparental Conflict and Childhood Internalizing and Externalizing Behaviors" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 482.