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Effects of Maternal Affect and Communication on Mother-Daughter Conflict Resolution


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EFF ECTS OF MATERNAL AFF ECT AND COMMUNI CATI ON ON MOTHER-DA UGHTER CONF L I CT RESOL UTI ON By GI L L I AN NASSAU A THESI S PR ESENTED TO TH E GRADUAT E SCHOOL OF T HE UNI VERSI TY OF FL ORI DA I N PARTI AL FUL FI L L MENT OF T HE REQUI REMENTS FOR THE DE GREE OF MA STE R O F SCI EN CE UNI VERSI TY OF FL ORI DA 2006

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ii ACKNOWL EDGMENTS I wo uld lik e to a c kn ow le dg e the stu dy pa rt ic ipa nts wh o g a ve the ir tim e to t his rese arc h, the staff of the Girls' Hea lth and Deve lopment Project at Tea cher s College at Columbi a Univer sity for their assistance in this resear ch, and to the N ational I nstitut e of Child Health and Human D evelopment ( NI CHD; HD32376) a nd the National I nstitut e of Mental He alth (NI MH; MH56557) for their financ ial support of this project. I would like to thank J ulie Gra ber f or her constant g uidance and support, her excellent editorial assistance and for her supe rb mentoring I would also like to thank Scott Mill er f or bring ing me into the developmental psy cholog y prog ram a nd for his continual e nc ou ra g e me nt a nd su pp or t du ri ng my tim e in t he pr og ra m. I wo uld lik e to e xpre ss m y g ra tit ud e fo r t he ma ny he lpf ul s ug g e sti on s o f m y c omm itt e e me mbe rs K e n Ri c e a nd L ise Young blade, a nd for the e x cellent a dvice a nd instruction so ge nerously provided by Sarah L y nn. I would espec ially like to thank my husband, Tom Auxter, and childre n, Ra c ine a nd Se ba sti a n, fo r a ll t he ir su pp or t a nd e nc ou ra g e me nt a nd fo r p ro vid ing me wi th the time and re source s to further my educa tion.

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iii TAB L E OF CONTENTS P age A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................ ii L I S T O F T A B L E S ....................................................... v A B S T R A C T ........................................................... vi I N T R O D U C T I O N ....................................................... 1 C o n f l i c t A f f e c t R a t e a n d R e s o l u t i o n ..................................... 3 M a t e r n a l A f f e c t a n d C o m m u n i c a t i o n ..................................... 6 C u r r e n t I n v e s t i g a t i o n ................................................ 11 M E T H O D ............................................................ 13 P a r t i c i p a n t s ........................................................ 13 P r o c e d u r e ......................................................... 13 M e a s u r e s ......................................................... 16 R E S U L T S ............................................................ 23 A n a l y s i s P l a n ....................................................... 28 P r e d i c t i n g S o l u t i o n Q u a l i t y ............................................ 28 S o l u t i o n A g r e e m e n t .................................................. 31 S U M M A R Y ........................................................... 33 D i s c u s s i o n ......................................................... 33 F u t u r e D i r e c t i o n s a n d I m p l i c a t i o n s ...................................... 37 APP EN DI X GI RL S AN D B OY S HE AL TH AN D D EV EL OPM EN T PR OJEC T CONFL I CT RESOL UTI ON CODEB OOK . . . . . . . . . . . 40 I n t r o d u c t i o n ........................................................ 40 C h i l d R e a r i n g I s s u e s F o r m ............................................ 42 S o l u t i o n Q u a l i t y S c a l e ................................................ 43 S o l u t i o n A g r e e m e n t S c a l e ............................................. 47 L e c t u r e / M o r a l i z e S c a l e ............................................... 48

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iv REFERENCES .......................................................50 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH..............................................55

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v L I ST OF TAB L ES T ab l e p age 1 F a m i l y b a c k g r o u n d c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ....................................... 23 2 C o r r e l a t i o n s a m o n g m o t h e r s b e h a v i o r ................................... 24 3 Means a nd standard de viations of mothers a ffe ctive cha rac teristics and o u t c o m e v a r i a b l e s ................................................... 24 4 Correla tions among inde pendent a nd depende nt measure s and cova riates . . . . 27 5 Hi e ra rc hic a l r e g re ssi on mod e l e xami nin g mot he rs p os iti ve be ha vio r a s a predic tor of solution quality and ag ree ment, controlling for c ovaria tes . . . . . 29 6 Hi e ra rc hic a l r e g re ssi on mod e l e xami nin g mot he rs n e g a tiv e be ha vio r a s a predic tor of solution quality and ag ree ment, controlling for c ovaria tes . . . . . 29 7 Hiera rchic al re g ression model examining c onflict fre quency and intensity as predic tors of solution quality and ag ree ment, controlling for c ovaria tes . . . . . 30 8 Hi e ra rc hic a l r e g re ssi on a na ly se s e xami nin g mot he r a nd da ug hte r s olu tio n q ua lit y as pre dictors of solution ag ree ment, controlling for c ovaria tes . . . . . . . . 32

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vi AB STR AC T Ab str a c t of Th e sis Pr e se nte d to the Gr a du a te Sc ho ol o of the Unive rsity of F lorida in Partial Fulf illment of the Requirements for the Deg ree of Master of Scienc e EFF ECTS OF MATERNAL AFF ECT AND COMMUNI CATI ON ON MOTHER-DA UGHTER CONF L I CT RESOL UTI ON By Gillian Nassau Aug ust 2006 Chair: J ulia A. Gra ber M aj o r D ep ar t m en t : P s y ch o l o gy Th e stu dy e xami ne d w he the r s pe c if ic pa re nti ng be ha vio rs we re a sso c ia te d w ith the quality of solutions ge nera ted during a motherdaug hter c onflict resolution task. A sample of 132 mother s and their da ug hters complete d survey s about conflict e x perie nces a nd pa rt ic ipa te d in a vid e ota pe d d isc us sio n o f t wo sp e c if ic iss ue s o f d isa g re e me nt. Mo the rs a ff e c tiv e a nd c omm un ic a tiv e be ha vio rs we re no t f ou nd to b e a sso c ia te d w ith g irls hig her solution quality Howeve r, hig her solution quality score s among g irls were found to be a ssociated with hig her r ates of solution ag ree ment. I n addition, the fre quency and intensity of conf lict were found to be strong predic tors of g irls solution quality and so lut ion a g re e me nt. I nf or ma tio n a bo ut t he inf lue nc e of c on fl ic t f re qu e nc y a nd int e ns ity on family problem-solving could be use ful to those working in clinical and e ducational se tti ng s w ith fa mil ie s.

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1 I NTRODUCTI ON Fa mily conflict ha s been shown to impac t childrens w ell-being with highe r levels of c onflict associa ted with highe r interna liz ing a nd externalizi ng problems and poorer peer rela tions (Clark & A rmstead, 2000; Da dds, Atkinson, Turner, B lums, & L endich, 1999; Va ndewa ter & L ansfor d, 1998). Much of the re sear ch on fa mily conflict has foc used on distressed f amilies and on the e ffe cts of mar ital conflict upon childre n, while fe w studies have looke d at conf lict resolution betwee n pare nts and children. Mo re ov e r, so c ia l c on fl ic t st ud ie s h a ve pr ima ri ly loo ke d a t pr e sc ho ol a g e c hil dr e n in school and labor atory settings ( Shantz, 1987), with very littl e re sear ch conduc ted on family rela tions in m iddle childhood. Resear ch finding s provide evide nce tha t many of the cha ng es that occ ur in family dy namics in adolesc ence have the ir roots in ear ly and mid dle c hil dh oo d f a mil y re la tio ns (L a ur se n & Col lin s, 19 94 ; Ste inb e rg 1 99 0) T hu s, understanding middle childhood family rela tions is essential to an understanding of longe r-ter m family dy namics. The c urre nt study expands upon this l iterature by examining fa mily conflict in a pa rent-c hild interaction during the middle-childhood pe ri od f oc us ing sp e c if ic a lly on mot he rs a nd da ug hte rs Re se a rc h h a s e xplor e d th e wa y s in wh ic h p a re nti ng pr a c tic e s im pa c t f a mil y re l at i o n s t h ro u gh o u t ch i l d h o o d P ar en t i n g b eh av i o rs t h at ar e s u p p o rt i v e a n d af fi rm i n g, such as be ing w arm a nd responsive, ha ve bee n shown to be assoc iated with better developmenta l outcomes for c hildren and a dolesce nts (McCabe & Clark, 1999; Steinberg Mounts, L amborn, & Dornbusch, 1991) Neg ative par ental af fec t, such as

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2 pare ntal hostili ty has bee n found to be a ssociated with hig her le vels of interna liz ing a nd e xter na lizin g be ha vio r i n c hil dr e n ( Con g e r, Ge E lde r, & L or e nz, 19 94 ). Ef fe c tiv e fa mil y problem-solving has also bee n found to be a ssociated with better peer rela tions and lower levels of inter nalizing beha viors in children (A shley & T omasello, 1998; Coughlin, & Vuchinich, 1996; Da dds, Atkinson, Turner, B lums, & L endich, 1999; Dodg e & Price, 1994). Resea rch ha s found that the par enting prac tice of e ng ag ing in joint decisionmaking with children wa s associate d with increa sed ac ademic a chieve ment and d ec re as ed d ru g u s e a m o n g ad o l es ce n t s (B ro wn M o u n t s L am b o rn & S t ei n b er g, 1993). Avoidant fa mily conflict re solution behaviors, such as a voiding discussion, leaving afte r disag ree ments, and bec oming e motionally distant have be en found to be a sso c ia te d w ith hig he r l e ve ls o f i nte rn a lizin g pr ob le ms a mon g a do le sc e nts (D a dd s, Atkinson, Turner, B lums, & L endich, 1999) For g atch ( 1989) found pa renta l neg ative em o t i o n s t o b e n ega t i v el y as s o ci at ed wi t h fa m i l y p ro b l em -s o l v i n g o u t co m e a m o n g 4 th 7 and 10 g rade boy s. Fa milies inability to resolve c onflict was f ound to be cor rela ted th th with highe r ra tes of ver bal and phy sical ag g ression in 4 and 7 g rade boy s. I n addition, th th inhibiti ng neg ative fe eling s and stay ing f ocused on the problem solving w ere found to be benef icial in attempting to r esolve diff ere nces. The pre sent study examined family problem-solving during structure d discussions in t he ho me T he stu dy a na ly zes pa re nti ng be ha vio rs to d e te rm ine wh e the r s pe c if ic aff ective a nd communicative be haviors ar e re lated to re solving c onflict betwe en mothers a nd da ug hte rs D e te rm ini ng wh ic h p a re nti ng be ha vio rs a re lik e ly to i mpa c t po sit ive ly family problem-solving can improve family rela tions, lead to healthier individual psy cholog ical func tioning, help de velop par enting skills, and be rele vant to broade r social skills training f or both adults and childre n.

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3 Conf lict Aff ect Rate and Resolu tion Cognitive, e motional, and maturational c hang es at the e nd of middle childhood, as we ll as the restruc turing of par ent-c hild roles during the transition to adolesce nce, ma y l e a d t o m a r k e d c h a n g e s i n r a t e a n d i n t e n s i t y o f p a r e n t c h i l d c o n f l i c t T r a d i t i o n a l l y, re se a rc he rs ha ve a rg ue d th a t a do le sc e nc e is a pe ri od of inc re a se d f re qu e nc y of pa re ntchild conflict a nd is a ref lection of c hildrens c hang ing e motional needs and c og nitions (B a nd ur a 1 96 9; H a ll, 19 04 ). I n th e ps y c ho a na ly tic mod e l, t he tr a ns iti on to a do le sc e nc e is marke d by a childs ne ed to cha lleng e par ents in an ef fort to sepa rate from them and cre ate a n independe nt identity The model a ssumes that conflict is an inher ent aspe ct of the par ent-c hild relationship as the child moves throug h adolesc ence I n the cog nitivedevelopmenta l model, cog nitive reorg anization takes place acr oss middle childhood and adolesc ence aff ecting pare nt-child and pe er r elationships. Cognitive cha ng es that occ ur in a do le sc e nc e s uc h a s th e a bil ity to e ng a g e in s y ste ma tic a nd c omp le x re a so nin g a nd to eng ag e in g rea ter c ritical thinking, ma y impact the par ent-c hild relationship by diminis hing the intellectual g ap (Paikoff & B rooks-Gunn, 1991) Under ly ing issues of a u t o n o m y i n d e p e n d e n c e a n d e q u a l i t y m a y i n f l u e n c e p a r e n t a d o l e s c e n t c o n f l i c t In a dd iti on th e fr e qu e nc y a nd int e ns ity of c on fl ic t du ri ng thi s p e ri od ma y be re la te d to puberta l timi ng and to shifts in parentchild power dy namics (Gr aber & B rooks-Gunn, 1996; Steinberg 1990). Since most studies beg in in early adolesc ence it is di fficult to deter mine whether there is a cha ng e in conf lict from prior leve ls, as it is poss ible that the observe d chang es beg an at a prior stag e of de velopment. An adva ntag e of the curr ent study is that the participa nts are r ecr uited in the third g rade which provide s an opportunity to examine conflict prior to the onset of adole scenc e.

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4 Re c e nt r e se a rc h d e mon str a te s a mor e c omp le x pic tur e of ho w p a re ntc hil d conflict c hang es ac ross middle childhood and adole scenc e, with af fec t, or intensity of conflict showing a diffe rent pa ttern than that of r ate, or fre quency of conf lict. L aurse n, Coy a nd Col lin s ( 19 98 ) f ou nd tha t di sa g re e me nts be tw e e n p a re nts a nd c hil dr e n b e c ome less fre quent but more unplea sant during adolesc ence The re sear cher s perf ormed a series of metaanaly ses examining cha ng e in par ent-c hild conflict rate and intensity acr oss ag es 10 to 22, and found c onflict rate and af fec t varied a s a func tion of ag e. The y found that pare nt-child aff ect be came more he ated dur ing mid-a dolesce nce a nd then dec rea sed s l i g h t l y d u r i n g l a t e a d o l e s c e n c e b u t w a s a t t h e l o w e s t l e v e l d u r i n g e a r l y a d o l e s c e n c e In c on tr a st, fr e qu e nc y of pa re ntc hil d c on fl ic t a pp e a re d to de c lin e a c ro ss a do le sc e nc e T his is in opposit ion to the commonly held belief that conflict ra te follows an inver ted U-shape d curvilinea r path throug hout adolesce nce ( Montemay or, 1983). The decline found in conflict r ate may be a f unction of a de cre ase in pa rent-c hild interaction during adolesc ence (Csiksz entmihaly i & L aurse n, 1984). Altera tions in conflict affe ct could be due to the emotional lability char acte ristic of adole scenc e as w ell as to issues of independe nce a nd autonomy (Steinberg 1990). Resear cher s have f ound evidenc e that cha ng es during adolesc ence are g radua l ra the r t ha n a br up t, a nd a re de ve lop me nta l tr a ns fo rm a tio ns a s o pp os e d to pe ri od ic dis ru pti on s ( L a ur se n & Col lin s, 19 94 ). Th us r a the r t ha n tr a dit ion a l mo de ls t ha t su g g e st that rela tionships chang e dra matically at adolesc ence espec ially in terms of ra te and int e ns ity of c on fl ic t, L a ur se n a nd Col lin s ( 19 94 ) h a ve pr op os e d a so c ia l r e la tio na l mo de l. The socia l relational model a dvocate s continuity acr oss development. The model postulates a g radua l increme ntal chang e in the par ent-c hild relationship acr oss childhood a nd a do le sc e nc e a s o pp os e d to a mod e l of ma jor sh if t or tr a ns fo rm a tio n d ur ing the tim e

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5 of adole scenc e. Social re lational theory emphasizes the social a nd situational context of rela tionships. C hang es in beha vior are understood to be g radua l as a c onsequenc e of the stability inhere nt in close rela tionships (L aurse n & Collins, 1994). Be havior is believe d to vary as a f unction of the c loseness and voluntar y nature of the re lationship. The social rela tional model draws f rom equity theory by analy zing power differ entials and int e rd e pe nd e nc e a s f a c tor s mo tiv a tin g be ha vio r. A m od e l of sta bil ity a rg ue s f or sta ble pare nting be haviors ac ross the entire childhood y ear s; that is, behaviors may be consistent in sty le eve n if specif ic pra ctices a re a djusted to be ag e appr opriate. Successf ul resolution of conflict of ten re quires that an individual be a ble to take into account the inter ests and per spectives of others. Piag et (1928, 1932) the orized that conflict c an be a means of r educing eg ocentr ism by forc ing a n individual to take an o t h er s p er s p ec t i v e. P i age t p o s i t ed t h at co n fl i ct i s re s o l v ed al b ei t t em p o ra ri l y t h ro u gh a proc ess of a ssimil ation and ac commodation. He pr oposed that an individual may be moved into a state of dise quilibrium when prese nted with discrepa nt information. The individual then attempts to restore e quilibrium t hroug h the proc ess of c hang ing e x istent sensorimotor and menta l schemata to acc ommodate the new information. A similar proce ss can be observe d when pe ople enter into a dialog ue in an a ttempt to resolve c on fl ic t. Wh e n o ne pa rt y s po sit ion on a n is su e is c ha lle ng e d, a n a tte mpt ma y be ma de to assimilate the information pre sented by the other pa rty (i.e. proc ess fe edbac k), re quiring acc ommodation of the orig inal position. Thus, arriving at an a cce ptable solution may e nta il m od if y ing on e s vie w a nd be ing wi lli ng to m ov e fr om o ne s po sit ion to acc ommodate another s viewpoint (Sca nzoni & Polonko, 1980; S metana, Y au, & Hanson, 1991). O ne nee ds to be able to state a position, provide support for that position, listen to other positions, and incorporate the information in orde r to g ener ate a

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6 compromise and a ttain a mutually ag ree able solution. This give and take in the dis c us sio n o f a n is su e of c on fl ic t c a n h e lp c la ri fy the na tur e of the pr ob le m a nd g ive ri se to viable solutions (Hepworth, Rooney and L arse n, 1997). Howeve r, powe r diffe rentials could a ffe ct the natur e of f amily conflict re solution. Con fl ic ts b e tw e e n p a re nts a nd c hil dr e n h a ve be e n f ou nd to r e su lt i n a ng ry a ff e c t, asser tions of pare ntal power and coe rcion on the pa rt of par ents (Ada ms & L aurse n, 2001), which c ould impede conf lict resolution. These c onditions, i n addition to the noneg alitarian na ture of pa rent-c hild relations, could re sult in a highe r likelihood that pa re nts wi ll g e ne ra te so lut ion s to iss ue s o f c on fl ic t th a n w ill c hil dr e n in the mid dle childhood y ear s. Th is s tud y e xami ne d p a re ntc hil d c on fl ic t du ri ng mid dle c hil dh oo d in or de r t o better unde rstand ef fec tive family problem-solving The study explored the eff ects of mothers be haviors on the qua lity of solutions ge nera ted and on the a ttainment of solution agr eeme nt during a discussion of conf lictual issues. I n addition, conflict fre quency and intensity wer e examined in rela tion to sol ution ag ree ment. The pre sent rese arc h aimed to furthe r our knowle dg e of f amily dy namics at e ntry into adolesce nce and to provide infor mation about how par enting behavior s impact family conflict resolution. Mate rnal Aff ect and Comm uni cation Pa re nti ng a ff e c t a nd c omm un ic a tio n h a ve be e n f ou nd to b e c or re la te d w ith a ho st of adjustment outcomes in childre n. Parenta l warmth and hostility have be en found to be a s s o c i a t e d w i t h c h i l d r e n s s e l f e s t e e m a c a d e m i c a c h i e v e m e n t s e l f r e l i a n c e a n x i e t y, distress, peer acc eptanc e, ang er, a nd problem-solving ability The pre sent investiga tion

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7 e xami ne d th e fo llo wi ng ma te rn a l a ff e c tiv e a nd c omm un ic a tio n b e ha vio rs a s e xpre sse d in a conf lict situation i n rela tion to mot herdaug hter c onflict resolution. Warm th Warmth entails such qualities as af firmation and a ffe ction and has be en def ined a s i n c l u d i n g a c c e p t a n c e p o s i t i v e r e g a r d r e s p o n s i v e n e s s a n d a p p r o v a l ( M a c c o b y & Martin, 1983; McCabe & Clark, 1999). Pare ntal war mth has been f ound to be associa ted wi th g re a te r w e llbe ing (i .e in te rn a lizin g a nd e xter na lizin g be ha vio rs tr ou ble wi th p e e rs ) a mon g g ir ls ( Va nd e wa te r & L a ns fo rd 1 99 8) M or e ov e r, a wa rm fa mil y int e ra c tio n s ty le has bee n found to be a ssociated with g ood problem solving a mong a dolesce nt gir ls, but not boy s (Reuter & Conge r 1995). Par ent-a dolesce nt warmth wa s proposed to be a more signific ant fa ctor than c onflict resolution strateg ies in family conflict with adole scent g irls (Rueter & Conge r, 1995). Adolesce nts ex posed to low levels of pa renta l warmth and hig h levels of c onflict wer e found to ha ve poore r psy cholog ical func tioning in such a rea s as social a djustment and ac ademic a chieve ment (F uhrman & Holmbeck, 1995) The pre sent study examined materna l warmth during a motherdaug hter c onflict-re solution t ask to see w hether materna l warmth as manif ested during the intera ction aff ects solution ge nera tion and ag ree ment. Hostility/Aggression Parenta l hostil ity has bee n found to be a ssociated with hig her le vels of in te r n a li zi n g a n d e xte r n a li zi n g b e h a v io r in c h il d r e n ( Co n g e r G e E ld e r & L o r e n z, 19 94 ). Ma te rn a l a ng e r h a s b e e n f ou nd to l e a d to hig he r l e ve ls o f p ro ble m be ha vio rs in g irl children ( Dre man, 2003). De pressive sy mptomatology involving hostility as display ed in hig h rate s of irritability and ag g ression, ca n trig g er the expression of ang er

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8 and distress on the pa rt of childre n (Cummings, Z ahn-Waxler, & Ra dke-Y arr ow, 1981). Ag g ressive f amily interac tion sty le has be en found to be associate d with ineffe ctive problem solving ( McColloch, Gilbert, & J ohnson, 1990). The c urre nt study examined the association betwe en fa mily problem-solving and hostile/ag g ressive ma terna l behavior during a par ent-c hild interaction. As se r ti ve ne ss Assertivene ss can be conce ptualized as an individuals ability to openly put forth, e ith e r v e rb a lly or no nv e rb a lly f e e lin g s, de sir e s, e xpe c ta tio ns th ou g hts in div idu a l r ig hts o p i n i o n s p er ce p t i o n s an d b el i ef s (H ep wo rt h R o o n ey & L ar s en 1 9 9 7 ; W eb er W i ed i g, Fr ey er, & Gra lher, 2004). A ssertive ve rbal be haviors that express ag ree ment or dissent i n cl u d e d es cr i b i n g, ex p l ai n i n g, s t at i n g, d ec l ar i n g, q u es t i o n i n g, cr i t i q u i n g, re fu s i n g, reque sting, e ncoura g ing/discour ag ing dia logue and spea king in a firm and moder ate tone of vo ic e No nv e rb a l a sse rt ive be ha vio rs inc lud e fa c ia l e xpre ssi on s a nd bo dy mov e me nts or stance s, such as re laxed posture, direc t ey e conta ct, appr opriate f acia l expressions (He pworth, Rooney & L arse n, 1997). Asser tiveness ca n entail communicating in a way tha t is re sp e c tf ul, c a lm, a nd fi rm (M a zur & Eb e su Hu bb a rd 2 00 4) A sse rt ive ne ss i s distinct form ag g ression, which involves violating the rig hts of others (L ang e, & J akubowski, 1976; Hepw orth, Rooney & L arse n, 1997) and is identified w ith a differ ent set of beha viors (e.g ., g laring clenc hed fists and jaw s, demea ning or loud tone of voice rig id stance) Weber, Wiedig Fr ey er, a nd Gra lher (2004) found asse rtiveness to be a n important social skill in m anag ing c onflict and in handling ang erprovoking behavior T h e r e s e a r c h e r s f o u n d a s s e r t i v e n e s s t o b e n e g a t i v e l y r e l a t e d t o s o c i a l a n x i e t y, submissi on, and rumination in adults, and to be positively associate d with the use of fee dback a nd humor (oper ationalized as the use of humorous rema rks or the

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9 interpre tation of a provoc ation as amusing ). The a bility to exercise one s rig hts by speaking clea rly confide ntly and honestly about one s own best intere st, without deny ing the rig hts of other individuals, is a social skill with the potential to protect and develop the e motional needs of both ag ent and r ecipient. Asse rtiveness c ould be an important aspec t of eff ective c ommunication and, as such, ma y be assoc iated with more eff ective f amily problem solving. Dom inan ce Ad a ms a nd L a ur se n ( 20 01 ) p ro po se d th a t th e inh e re nt p ow e r d if fe re nti a l in familial rela tions allows for dominant and coe rcive behavior s. The author s examined the top ic r e so lut ion a nd ou tc ome of pa re ntc hil d c on fl ic t a nd fo un d th a t pa re ntc hil d c on fl ic ts r e su lte d in ne utr a l or a ng ry a ff e c t, a sse rt ion s o f p ow e r, a nd wi nlos e conclusions. The a uthors proposed that pa rent-c hild conflict is refle ctive of the noneg alitarian, oblig atory nature of the re lationship, and is conditioned by the fa ct that the cha nce of rela tionship di ssolution i s minim al. These behavior s are minimi zed in peer rela tions for fea r of dissolution of friendship. The y found that fa milial relations were marke d by compulsory unilatera l rules and that pa rents eng ag ed in coe rcion during c on fl ic t. T his ra ise s th e qu e sti on of wh e the r d omi na nt b e ha vio r o n th e pa rt of pa re nts is de tr ime nta l to the re so lut ion of pa re ntc hil d c on fl ic t. Lecturing/Moralizing Behaviors The c urre nt investiga tion also looked at how mothers use of lec turing or moralizing beha viors impacted both the qua lity of solutions ge nera ted during the videotaped disc ussion and the likelihood of rea ching ag ree ment on a propose d solution. Effe ctive proble m-solving involves the a bility to present a problem without blaming or a tta c kin g oth e r p a rt ic ipa nts O ve rg e ne ra lize d, a c c us a tor y o r n e g a tiv e me ssa g e s e lic it

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10 defe nsive rathe r than c ollaborative be havior fr om others (He pworth, Rooney & L arse n, 1997). Smetana a nd Asquith (1994) found that a rea s of conf lict betwee n pare nts and children tha t were understood as involving moral (e .g ., stealing ly ing, hitting ) and conventional issues (e .g ., chore s, manners, c ursing ) we re c onsidered to be more obliga tory and to be unde r par ental jurisdiction. I t is thereby conce ivable that whe n a pare nt adopts a moralizing or lecturing tone, the child may respond to the issue unde r discussion as though it we re unde r par ental jurisdiction. Thus high le vels of mora liz ing or lec turing behavior s may tend to interfe re w ith discussion. Co nt e xt ual F ac to r s Con te xtua l f a c tor s su rr ou nd ing the fa mil y ma y a lte r t he e ff e c ts o f s pe c if ic pare ntal behavior s on child outcome and on c onflict resolution. Parent e ducational leve l has bee n found to be positively associate d with the pare ntal communication beha viors of listening, e x plaining, a nd neg otiating ( Smetana, Crea n, & D addis, 2002). Smetana a nd Gaines ( 1999) found that f reque ncy of par ent child conf lict increa sed in families whe re pare nts had less educ ation and in sing le-pa rent households. Pare nt educa tional level and ma ri ta l st a tus we re fo un d to be ne g a tiv e ly a sso c ia te d w ith the fr e qu e nc y of pa re ntc hil d conflict a mong A frica n Americ an 11to 14-y ear -olds (Smetana & Gaines, 1999) R e s e a r c h h a s e x a m i n e d t h e e f f e c t s o f e t h n i c i t y u p o n p a r e n t i n g b e h a v i o r a l o u t c o m e s In studies using Western Eur opean sa mples, authoritaria n pare nting tec hniques have been found to be a ssociated with lower levels of pa renta l warmth and pa renta l perspec tivetaking (Gruse c, Rudy & Ma rtini, 1997). Howeve r, re sear cher s have f ound that stricter pare ntal control and pa renta l unilateral de cision-making to be associa ted with lower levels of de viance among low-income A frica n Americ an fa milies and highe r leve ls of a c a de mic a c hie ve me nt a mon g Af ri c a n A me ri c a ns a nd As ia ns I n li g ht o f t he se fi nd ing s,

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11 rese arc hers ha ve propose d that stricter pa renting may serve as a pr otective f actor in highrisk environments (L amborn, Dor nbusch, & Steinberg 1996; Steinberg 2001). Acc eptanc e of a stricter pa renting sty le within a g roup may be a r esponse to socie tal fac tors such as r acism and discr imination, and such ac cepta nce ma y be viewe d as an eff ective c oping stra teg y Additionally the ef fec ts of pare nting pr actice s may be temper ed by oth e r f a c tor s su c h a s w a rm th, op e n c omm un ic a tio n, a nd su pp or t. O ne g oa l of thi s stu dy wa s to loo k a t th e pr oc e ss o f c on fl ic t r e so lut ion us ing a div e rs e sa mpl e wh ile controlling for da ug hters r ace /ethnicity mothers e ducation and ma rital status, and family income. Cur r e nt Inv e st iga ti on Th e c ur re nt i nv e sti g a tio n s tud ie d a sa mpl e of 13 2 th ir d g ra de g ir ls a nd the ir mot he rs du ri ng a vid e ota pe d s tr uc tur e d d isc us sio n s e ssi on T he sa mpl e is b oth socioec onomically and cultura lly diverse. V illanueva, Gr aber and B rooks-Gunn ( 2006) explored whether materna l affe ctive and c ommunicative beha viors wer e re lated to the fr e qu e nc y a nd int e ns ity of mot he rda ug hte r c on fl ic t, u sin g the sa me pa rt ic ipa nts a s th os e of the pr e se nt s tud y M oth e rs c omm un ic a tio n b e ha vio rs we re fo un d to be sig nif ic a ntl y associate d with mothers re port of conf lict freque ncy Also, signific ant cor rela tions were found for the fre quency and intensity of conf lict. The pre sent rese arc h extended this work by looking a t mother-daug hter c onflict resolution and its association with mater nal aff ective a nd communicative be haviors. The study examined whether materna l affe ct and communication impact the outcome of conf lict resolution, specifica lly in terms of solution qualit y and solution ag ree ment. Both mothers and daug hters r esponses we re analy zed in terms of solution quality The pre sent study investiga ted the following hy po the se s:

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12 The fir st hy pothesis looked at the quality of solutions ge nera ted, a c onstruct me a su ri ng pa rt ic ipa nts a bil ity to s olv e pr ob le ms c on str uc tiv e ly a nd ne g oti a te so lut ion s. I t was expected tha t highe r quality solutions would be associated with g rea ter mate rnal war mth, assertivene ss, and communication and w ith lower mater nal hostilit y and dominance. A sec ond g oal of the study was to examine materna l behaviors that c ould impact participa nts ability to rea ch an a g ree d upon solution. The likelihood of arriving at an ag ree d upon solution was predicte d to increa se as mate rnal wa rmth, assertivene ss, and communication incre ased a nd as mater nal hostilit y and dominance decr ease d. Th e thi rd g oa l of the re se a rc h w a s to e xplor e the e ff e c ts o f s pe c if ic communicative be haviors on discussion outcome. I t was expected tha t high leve ls of pare ntal lecturing and mora liz ing be haviors would be ne g atively associate d with the quality of solutions ge nera ted by the child and by the mother a nd with the likelihood of arr iving a t an ag ree d upon solution. A final g oal of the study was to examine the re lationship between the solutions g e ne ra te d b y the pa rt ic ipa nts a nd the fr e qu e nc y a nd int e ns ity of mot he rda ug hte r c on fl ic t. I t was expected tha t the quality of solutions ge nera ted by mothers and by daug hters wo uld be ne g a tiv e ly a sso c ia te d w ith the fr e qu e nc y a nd int e ns ity of c on fl ic t.

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13 METHOD P ar ti c ipa nt s Participants wer e 132 third g rade g irls, ag es 8 and 9 ( M = 8.41, SD = .60), a nd the ir mot he rs T he c hil dr e n w e re re c ru ite d f ro m r a c ia lly int e g ra te d N e w Y or k Ci ty pu bli c elementa ry schools. Ba sed on mothers r eport, 37.1% ( 49) of the g irls were Afric an Am e ri c a n, 46 .2 % ( 61 ) w e re Ca uc a sia n, a nd 16 .7 % ( 22 ) w e re Hi sp a nic T he pa rt ic ipa nts we re fr om t he Ne w Y or k Ci ty a re a T he fa mil ie s w e re of low e r t o mi dd le so c ioe c on omi c status. The par ticipants demog raphic information re flec ted that of the ne ighbor hoods they wer e dra wn from. The median fa mily siz e wa s 4. Most of the mothers had completed hig h school or colleg e, or ha d obtained a g ener al equivale ncy document (GED) ; only 11.6% of the mother s had not completed hig h school and ha d not obtained a GED. The mean f amily income wa s $34,500 and 61.8% of mothers wer e employ ed outside the home. P roce dure Participants wer e re cruited throug h fly ers distributed at sc hools. The study was lim ite d to tho se ho us e ho lds in w hic h th e pa rt ic ipa tin g pa re nt a nd c hil d w e re bo th competent in Eng lish as determined throug h the initial telephone conta ct. This was c on sid e re d n e c e ssa ry fo r t he c od ing of the vid e ota pe d c on fl ic t di sc us sio n ta sk Pa re nts a nd c hil dr e n w e re int e rv ie we d in the ir ho me s. F a mil ie s r e c e ive d $ 60 fo r p a rt ic ipa tin g in the re sear ch and g irls rec eived a T-shirt at the c onclusion of the home visit. Protocols for t h e s t u d y w e r e a p p r o v e d b y t h e IR B a t T e a c h e r s C o l l e g e C o l u m b i a U n i v e r s i t y.

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14 Secondar y coding conducte d at the Univer sity of F lorida wa s approve d by the I RB at the University of F lorida. Hom e visit. A team of 2 data c ollectors visited participa nts in their home. They explained the study proce dures a nd obtained informe d consent fr om both parent a nd child. Writt en informe d consent, including consent for videotaping was obtaine d from pare nt and child par ticipants at the beg inning of the first home visit. Parents wer e interviewe d and g iven a pa cket to complete containing family backg round c ha ra c te ri sti c s. B oth the pa re nt a nd c hil d w e re the n g ive n a Con fl ic t I ssu e s Ch e c kli st (H e the ri ng ton & Clin g e mpe e l, 1 99 2) to c omp le te T he c he c kli st w a s d e sig ne d to e va lua te the deg ree and fr equenc y of par ent-a dolesce nt conflict, and to identify the issues about which par ents and c hildren (a g es 9 throug h 17) disag ree or ar g ue. Da ta collec tors rea d eac h item on the chec klist t o the child. The mother completed the c hecklist on her own. The te am of da ta collec tors revie wed the c ompleted che cklists and chose 2 of the ite ms t ha t w e re ma rk e d b y bo th p a re nt a nd c hil d a nd wh ic h w e re the mos t e mot ion a lly char g ed for use in the subseque nt conflict task. I f there wer e not 2 identical items in the pare nt and child che cklists, then the data c ollectors chose an item or items from e ach participa nts questionnaires. The mother a nd child wer e then pr esente d with a conf lict task in which they wer e asked to discuss the 2 se lected issues of conflict. The participa nts were informed that the c on fl ic ts i de nti fi e d w e re c omm on iss ue s o f f a mil y c on fl ic t. Q ue sti on s w e re pr ov ide d to them as an a id in guiding the discussion: What is the problem? , H ow does the pr ob le m be g in?, Who be c ome s in vo lve d in the pr ob le m?, a nd Wha t mi g ht b e do ne to avoid this problem in the future?. Participants were instructed to answe r all 4 questions verba lly and the da ta collec tors then left the r oom prior to the beg inning of the

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15 discussion. Participants were g iven 7 minutes to discuss the 2 selecte d issues. The entire conflict task wa s videotaped. Sc or ing of pa r e nt sc ale s a nd c onfli c t t as k. The pre sent study analy zed the videotaped c onflict task in terms of mothers and daug hters solution quality solution ag ree ment, and mothers lecturing /moralizi ng behavior s. The solution quality and so lut ion a g re e me nt s c a le s w e re fr om a c on fl ic t r e so lut ion c od e bo ok de ve lop e d f or thi s stu dy T he le c tur e /mo ra lize sc a le wa s a da pte d f ro m on e de ve lop e d b y Me lby e t a l. (1998). Scor es for solution agr eeme nt and solution quality wer e ca teg orica l, and score s for lec ture/moralize wer e on a L ikert-ty pe sca le with a ra ng e of 02. The mate rnal a ffe ctive beha vior scale s of communication, listener re sp on siv e ne ss, a sse rt ive ne ss, do min a nc e w a rm th, a nd ho sti lit y we re fr om t he Pa re ntChild C onflict Task Vide otape Codebook ( Gra ber & Abra ham, 2001) a nd wer e code d previously (Villanueva -Abra ham, 2004). This code book was ba sed on 2 pre vious coding sy ste ms: Th e I ow a F a mil y I nte ra c tio ns Ra tin g Sc a le (M e lby e t a l., 19 98 ), us e d to measure war mth, dominance, and listene r re sponsiveness; and The L ife Skills Training coding sy stem (Gra ber e t al., 1999), used to mea sure c ommunication, ag g ression, and a sse rt ive ne ss. Al l of the c on str uc ts w e re me a su re d o n a 5po int L ike rt -t y pe sc a le fr om 1 = not at all cha rac teristic to 5 = hig hly char acte ristic. Coders we re tra ined to identify particula r beha vioral par ental indicator s of af fec t for e ach c onstruct being measure d. Coders scor ed sepa rate scale s on prac tice videotape d re c or din g s o f t he pa re ntc hil d c on fl ic t ta sk T he y tr a ine d u nti l th e y re a c he d a re lia bil ity level of a g ree ment with the standard of 85% and the n beg an coding nonprac tice videotaped se ssions. Reliabili ty was c hecke d on 20% of the ta pes once the code rs wer e tr a ine d to c ri te ri on Co de rs we re re tr a ine d if the y fe ll b e low the c ri te ri on a nd re pla c e d if

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16 they consistently wer e unable to maintain ag ree ment levels. The sa me training proce dure was used in the pr ior coding of mater nal af fec tive behavior scale s and in the coding of the new sc ales used in the pr esent investig ation. Soluti on codes f or the prior L ikert-ty pe materna l affe ctive beha vior scale s used within 1 as ac cepta ble re liability at 85%. Ne w codes f or this investiga tion were mainly cate g orica l and exact match wa s used as criter ion. M e as ur e s Solu tion qu ality scale. Sol uti on qu a lit y wa s a sse sse d in te rm s o f s pe c if ic e le me nts of the c on ve rs a tio n th a t w e re he lpf ul i n g e ne ra tin g so lut ion s. Sol uti on qu a lit y score s rang ed fr om 0 to 5: 0 = no soluti on proposed: the pa rticipant did not prese nt any solution at all; 1 = failure to a cknowledg e proble m: either the mother or the child did not acknow ledg e the identifie d issue as a pr oblem for them; 2 = ina ppropriate solution: the solution proposed either doe s not address the ide ntified problem, is not a ser ious soluti on (e .g ., is o ff e re d in a hu mor ou s, fl ipp a nt, or sa rc a sti c ma nn e r) is e xploi tiv e o r i s c le a rl y n o t a c h i e v a b l e ; 3 = r e s t a t e m e n t o f t h e p r o b l e m : t h e s o l u t i o n o f f e r e d i s m e r e l y a restate ment of the proble m (thoug h not verba tim) and does not provide a ny additional inf or ma tio n o n h ow to s olv e the pr ob le m ( e .g ., y ou ne e d to ke e p y ou r r oo m c le a n ); 4 = ela boration of the pr oblem: the discussion provides additional information about the pr ob le m id e nti fi e d, bu t do e s n ot p ro vid e a n a c hie va ble so lut ion ( y ou r r oo m is me ssy beca use y ou dont put y our laundry awa y ); 5 = a chieva ble and spe cific solution: the so lut ion is p os sib le to c a rr y ou t a nd pr ov ide s sp e c if ic inf or ma tio n a bo ut h ow to e xec ute the solution (e.g ., cites spec ific beha viors, such as y ou could put one toy awa y befor e ta kin g ou t a no the r o ne ) Co de rs we re tr a ine d to c la ssi fy e a c h p a rt ic ipa nt s r e sp on se s in to 1 of these 6 c ateg ories such tha t the highe st categ ory response g iven was the one scor ed.

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17 For example, a child who initially g ave a flippant solution, but t hen g ener ated a n achie vable a nd specific one, would re ceive a solution score of 5. Reliability of ag ree ment fo r m oth e rs s olu tio n q ua lit y wa s 8 9% a c ro ss c od e rs a nd a c ro ss b oth iss ue s o f c on fl ic t, with rang ing f rom .74 to .95. Reliability of ag ree ment for c hilds soluti on quality was 90%, with rang ing f rom .62 to .95. As previously stated, solution quality response s wer e skew ed towar d highe r leve l responses. Thoug h there is a fair ly wide ra ng e of va lues for the ka ppas re ported he re, tra ditionally kappas do not func tion well as measur es of re lia bil ity w he n th e re is n ot a lot of va ri a bil ity in t he ob se rv e d r e sp on se s. Ka pp a s, ho we ve r, we re a ll w ith in t he ra ng e c on sid e re d s ub sta nti a l or ne a r p e rf e c t ( L a nd is & Koch, 1977) F or the pu rp os e s o f a na ly sis c a te g or ic a l r e sp on se s w e re re c od e d. Sol uti on qu a lit y was divided into hig hand lowlevel solutions: scores of 04 wer e g rouped a s low-level solutions and a score of 5 as a highlevel solution. L ow-leve l soluti ons differ ed qualitatively from hig h-leve l soluti ons in that they did not possess the char acte ristics of being achie vable a nd specific Such solutions di d not appea r to provide a worka ble means of solving the identified problem. Hig h-leve l responses r epre sented solutions that were both achieva ble and spe cific. B oth mother and da ug hter re ceive d a solution quality score on eac h of 2 issues of c onflict. A par ticipants 2 solution quality score s were then c omb ine d to y ie ld a su m sc or e a c ro ss b oth so lut ion s, wi th a ra ng e of 02. Sol uti on qu a lit y was c oded as missing when the pa rticipants skipped one of the 2 conf lict issues (e.g ., participa nts ended the discussion af ter discussing only one of the 2 issues prese nted, or both participants dec lare d the identified issue wa s not a problem for them). Calculations employ ing imputed da ta using the serie s mean we re pe rfor med as a way of handling missing data. I f 1 problem sc ore w as missing, that va lue was imputed a nd a sum score

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18 was then c alculate d. I f any of the pa rticipants had missing da ta ac ross both of the conf lict issues selecte d for discussion, the pa rticipant wa s not included in the ana ly sis. Solu tion agree m ent scale. Soluti on ag ree ment was scor ed for both issues of conflict a s a dichotomous varia ble (0 = no indication that both parties ag ree ; 1 = ver bal or nonverba l ag ree ment indicated) Soluti on ag ree ment was c hara cter ized by both verba l (e .g ., ok ) a nd no nv e rb a l be ha vio rs (e .g ., a ff ir ma tiv e no d) A su m sc or e a c ro ss b oth iss ue s o f c on fl ic t w a s c re a te d, ra ng ing fr om 0 to 2 Re lia bil ity of a g re e me nt f or thi s sc a le was 88 %, w ith rang ing f rom .56 to 1.0. F requency and in tensity of conf lict. Eac h pare nt and child wer e provide d with a Conflict I ssues Checklist (Hethe ring ton & Cling empee l, 1992) and a sked to mark whic h of the c onflicts they had pre viously eng ag ed in tog ether The for m consisted of 28 topics (including other ) about whic h pare nts and children of ten ar g ue or disag ree (e.g ., manner s, school g rade s, keeping room tidy ). They wer e aske d to identify topics (e .g ., c le a nin g up d oin g ho me wo rk a llo wa nc e ) o n w hic h th e y ha d d isa g re e me nts Ch ild and par ent ea ch indicate d how hea ted, or intense, e ach c onflict was. Ea ch mar ked item was scor ed on a 3point scale in terms of intensity (0 = not he ated, 1 = heate d, 2 = ver y he a te d) T he he a te d v a ri a ble wa s th e me a n o f t he he a te d s c or e s f or a ll t he ma rk e d it e ms. M o t h e r a n d c h i l d a l s o i n d i c a t e d t h e f r e q u e n c y o f e a c h c o n f l i c t ( 1 = m o n t h l y, 2 = w e e k l y, 3 = daily ). The f reque ncy item was the sum of a ll the marked items. Mothers score s wer e ana ly zed separa tely from childre ns score s. These sc ores we re a naly zed in relation to the quality of solutions ge nera ted during the videotape d discussion. M ot he r s be hav ior s. Six scale s were used pre viously to code the vide otaped pa re nta do le sc e nt i nte ra c tio n d ur ing the c on fl ic tre so lut ion ta sk (V ill a ne uv a Ab ra ha m,

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19 Gra ber, & Br ooks-Gunn, under revie w). I n addition, the curr ent study looked at an additional scale measuring mothers mora liz ing a nd lecturing behavior s. Co m m unic at ion The c ommunication scale ta pped the de g ree to which the m o t h e r a ) m a d e h e r s e l f c l e a r b y s t a t i n g h e r o w n p o s i t i o n c l e a r l y a n d c o n c i s e l y; b) under stood childs position; c) va lidated child by showing respe ct for or para phrasing child; and d) a cknowledg ed childs view point. Com munication was scor ed on a 5point L ike rt -t y pe sc a le ra ng ing fr om 1 = no t a t a ll c omp e te nt t o 5 = hig hly c omp e te nt. Reliability of ag ree ment was 94% f or this scale, = .92. Lis te ne r r e spo nsiv e ne ss. The listener responsivene ss scale me asure d the extent t o wh i ch t h e m o t h er ap p ea re d t o b e a t t en d i n g t o s h o wi n g an i n t er es t i n ac k n o wl ed gi n g, and validating the child. L istener r esponsiveness wa s measure d on a 5-point L ikert-ty pe scale with responses r ang ing f rom 1 = not at a ll chara cter istic to 5 = highly char acte ristic. Charac teristic beha viors included making ey e conta ct, nodding and adjusting body orientation towar d the spea ker. O ther ve rbal be haviors included a cknowledg ing, not interrupting validating and conve y ing inter est in what the other person ve rbalized. Reliability of ag ree ment for this scale was 100%, = 1.0. Dom inan ce. The dominanc e sca le measur ed the de g ree to which the mother seeme d to attempt to dominate, influence or control the c hild and/or the situation (1 = not a t all char acte ristic to 5 = hig hly char acte ristic). Dominanc e ca n also be indicated by an attempt to influenc e the be haviors, opinions, or points of view of a nother person. I ndicators include criticizing or inter rupting the child, or c hang ing or aborting the subject of discussion. Reliability of ag ree ment for this scale was 83%, = .76. Hos ti lit y/A gg r e ssi on. Th e ho sti lit y /a g g re ssi on sc a le me a su re d in te nti on a l ve rb a l, nonverba l, and phy sical beha vior that is potentially emotionally or phy sically harmful or

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20 i n j u ri o u s t o an o t h er i n d i v i d u al I n d i ca t o rs o f h o s t i l i t y / aggr es s i o n i n cl u d e h o s t i l e s t ar i n g, g rimace s, snarls, smirks; hostil e, sar castic, dismissive, or irritable tone of voice ; a ra ised voice; def ensive posture ; and phy sical conta ct. Hostility /ag g ression wa s measure d on a 5po int L ike rt -t y pe sc a le (1 = no t a t a ll a g g re ssi ve 5 = hig hly a g g re ssi ve ). Th e re lia bil ity score for this scale was 83% a g ree ment, = .74. As se r ti ve ne ss. The a ssertivene ss scale me asure d the extent to which the mother appea red to be acting in her own be st interest, beha ving ope nly and honestly standing up for he rself, a nd exercising her ow n rig hts, while behaving thusly without deny ing the r i g h t s o f h e r c h i l d B e h a v i o r a l i n d i c e s o f a s s e r t i v e n e s s i n c l u d e d s p e a k i n g f i r m l y, c a l m l y, composedly decisively and conf idently while making direc t ey e conta ct. Fa cial expressions and body postures of se riousness, conf idence and dire ctness (i.e ., fac ing oth e r i nd ivi du a l di re c tly s ta nd ing str a ig ht) we re a lso ind ic a tor s o f a sse rt ive ne ss. Assertivene ss was mea sured on a 5-point L ikert-ty pe sca le (1 = not at all asser tive, 5 = hig hly asser tive). The r eliability score for this scale was100% a g ree ment, = 1.00. Wa r m th Th e wa rm th s c a le me a su re d th e de g re e to w hic h th e mot he r s e e me d to be nice to, take an inter est in, and enjoy being with her c hild. W armth wa s score d as an index of verbal (e .g ., expressing nic e and suppor tive statements) a nd nonverba l c o m m u n i c a t i o n ( t o u c h i n g k i s s i n g d i s p l a yi n g r e l a x e d b o d y p o s t u r e s m a k i n g e ye contac t) as we ll as emotional expressions (smil ing, nodding laug hing, a ppear ing ha pp y ). War mth wa s me a su re d o n a 5po nt L ike rt -t y pe sc a le fr om 1 = no t a t a ll c ha ra c te ri sti c (v ir tua lly no e xamp le s o f w a rm th a nd inv olv e me nt w ith the c hil d) to 5 = mainly char acte ristic (cha rac terized as wa rm and involved). Re liability of ag ree ment was 94% f or this scale, = .93.

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21 Le c tu r ing and m or ali z ing be hav ior s. Th e le c tur ing a nd mor a lizin g sc a le measure d the deg ree to which a pa rent pre sents information in a manne r that may be prea chy intrusive, pushy moralizing, cr itical, or judg mental. B ehavior s included speaking in a judg mental, cr itical, or rhe torical manne r; interrupting child; and monopoliz ing c onversa tion. The item was scor ed ac ross both issues of conflict. The c on str uc t w a s me a su re d o n a 3po int L ike rt -t y pe sc a le of 0 = no t a t a ll c ha ra c te ri sti c (d id no t de mon str a te a ny le c tur ing or mor a lizin g be ha vio rs ), 1 = so me wh a t c ha ra c te ri sti c (sometimes display ed lec turing or moralizing be haviors that ar e brie f, infre quent, and of low intensity ), and 2 = mainly char acte ristic (usually display ed lec turing or moralizing behavior s, which may be intense a nd prolong ed). I n order to rec eive a score of 2, the mother must have e ng ag ed in beha viors that impeded the c onversa tion. Reliabili ty of ag ree ment for this scale was 93%, w ith rang ing f rom .79 to .86. F am ily bac kgr ound c har ac te r ist ic s. During the home visit, mothers completed a n in te rv ie w i n w hic h in fo rm a tio n w a s o bta ine d a bo ut f a mil y de mog ra ph ic c ha ra c te ri sti c s. Th e a na ly se s c on tr oll e d f or de mog ra ph ic inf or ma tio n a bo ut m oth e rs e du c a tio n, fa mil y inc ome mo the rs m a ri ta l st a tus a nd c hil d s r a c e /e thn ic ity D umm y codes w ere used to ca teg orize demog raphic data. Mother s educ ation was scor ed as e ither 1 (educ ation bey ond high sc hool or GED) or 0 (hig h school diploma, GED, or le ss). Race /ethnicity was c ateg orized as 1 for White or a s 0 for Af rica n-Amer ican or L atina. Mothers mar ital status was score d as 1 for marrie d (including cohabiting couples) or 0 fo r a ll e lse (i nc lud ing no t ma rr ie d, sin g le d ivo rc e d, a nd wi do we d) Po ve rt y le ve l in c ome was de termined fr om mothers re ports of fa mily income and house hold siz e and the n compar ed to the national pove rty threshold for 1996. F amily income wa s collapsed into 3 cate g ories: above poverty level, below pove rty level, and missing For family income, 2

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22 du mmy -c od e d v a ri a ble s w e re us e d, wi th t he omi tte d g ro up be ing be low po ve rt y le ve l. Missing data on family income ac counted f or 20% of the sample.

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23 RESUL TS De sc ri pti ve sta tis tic s p ro vid ing the me a ns a nd sta nd a rd de via tio ns fo r f a mil y backg round cha rac teristics are repor ted in Table 1. A pproxi mately 46% of g irls were white. While 64% of mothers had a n educa tion level bey ond that of hig h school, 36% completed hig h school, or had a GED. Ne arly 54% of mother s were marrie d. The majority of fa milies were a bove the pove rty level, but 22% of f amilies had incomes below the pove rty level, and 20.4% had missing infor mation on income. Table 1. Fa mily backg round cha rac teristics Va ri a ble %n Da ug hte rs r a c e /e thn ic ity Whit e 46.2% 61 Bla ck 37.1% 49 L atina 16.7% 22 F a mil y inc ome Be low poverty 22.0% 29 Above pove rty 57.6% 76 Missing 20.4% 27 Mothers e ducation Be y ond high sc hool 63.6% 84 Hig h school/GED or le ss 36.4% 48 Mothers mar ital status Marr ied 53.8% 71 L iving with someone 4.5% 06 Other Single 19.7% 26 Separa ted/divorce d 18.9% 25 Widowed 3.0% 04 Preliminary analy ses re veale d strong associations (i.e., r rang ing f rom .46 to .67) among sever al of the mother behavior s score d in the interac tion task (Table 2) L ectur e/moralize was sig nificantly corr elated w ith hosti lity r = .51, p < .0 1, a nd wi th

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24 dominance, r = .53, p < .01. He nce, r ating s of mothers be haviors we re divided into two composite g roups consisting of mothers positive and ne g ative beha viors. Materna l war mth, communication, and asser tiveness wer e summed to y ield mothers positive behavior s, with M = 13.49, SD = 3.06, and = .85 (Ta ble 3). L ectur e/moralize was signific antly corr elated w ith hosti lity r = .01, p < .01, and dominance r = .53, p < .01. Ma te rn a l do min a nc e h os til ity a nd le c tur ing a nd mor a lizin g be ha vio r w e re su mme d to y ield mothers ne g ative beha viors, with M = 4.08, SD = 2.34, and = .75. Table 2. Correla tions among mother s beha vior Var iable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 Communi cation .67** .52** .66** -.21* -.17* -.18* 2 L istener r esponsiveness .66* .54* -.53* -.52 -.42** 3 Warmth .49** -.46** -.38** -.26** 4 Assertivene ss -.28** -.09 -.20* 5 Hostilit y .61** .51** 6 Dominance .53** 7 L e c tu r e /M o r a li ze 8 M 3.68 3.67 2.98 3.17 1.36 2.39 .33 9 SD .79 .91 1.07 .91 .89 1.25 .61 Correla tion is si g nificant a t the 0.05 level (2tailed). ** Correla tion is si g nificant a t the 0.01 level (2tailed). Table 3. Means a nd standard de viations of mothers a ffe ctive cha rac teristics and outcome var iables MS D Mothers a ffe ctive cha rac teristics Mothers positive beha viors 13.49 (3.06) Mothers ne g ative beha viors 4.08 (2.34) Outcome va riables Mothers solution quality 1.23 (0.74) Childs solut ion quality .89 (0.75) Soluti on ag ree ment 1.30 (0.72) The distribution of mothers solution quality score s, rang ing f rom 0, was skewe d toward the upper limit. Mothers solution quality score s had the following dis tr ibu tio n: 1 % o f r e sp on se s r e c e ive d a sc or e of 0 f or fa ilu re to g e ne ra te a so lut ion to problem pre sented, 1% r ece ived a sc ore of 1 for f ailure to a cknowledg e identified issue

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25 as a pr oblem, 4% re ceive d a scor e of 3 f or mere restate ment of problem, 34% rec eived a score of 4 for elabor ation upon problem, and 60% rec eived a score of 5 for g ener ation of an ac hievable a nd specific solution t o problem. The distribution of childs solution quality score s, rang ing f rom 0, was a lso highly skewe d toward hig her sc ores: 6% of response s rec eived a score of 0 for failure to ge nera te a solution to problem prese nted, 4% re c e ive d a sc or e of 1 f or fa ilu re to a c kn ow le dg e ide nti fi e d is su e a s a pr ob le m, 1% re ceive d a scor e of 2 f or g ener ation of an ina ppropriate solution, 5% rece ived a sc ore of 3 for mere restate ment of problem, 38% rec eived a score of 4 for elabor ation upon problem, and 46% of re sponses rec eived a score of 5 for g ener ation of an a chieva ble and specific solution t o problem. Whe n s olu tio n q ua lit y sc or e s w e re c oll a ps e d in to l ow a nd hig hle ve l r e sp on se s, the score s were more e venly distributed. An achie vable a nd specific solution was give n a score of 1, while a ll other solutions receive d a scor e of 0. The distribution of mot her a nd c hil d s so lut ion qu a lit y sc or e s r a ng e d f ro m 0, re pr e se nti ng low -l e ve l r e sp on se s o n b oth issues discussed (e .g ., inappropria te solution, elaboration upon proble m), to a scor e of 2, repr esenting the g ener ation of ac hievable a nd specific solutions t o both issues discussed. A s c or e of 1 w a s g ive n w he n a n a c hie va ble a nd sp e c if ic so lut ion wa s g e ne ra te d f or on ly 1 of the 2 issues discussed. A pproxi mately 22% of mother s solution quality response s rec eived a score of 0, 35% r ece ived a sc ore of 1, and 43% r ece ived a sc ore of 2. Approxim ately 37% of c hilds soluti on quality response s rec eived a score of 0, 34% rec eived a score of 1, and 29% rec eived a score of 2. Ne arly 18% of solution ag ree ment response s rec eived a score of 0, 33.3% r ece ived a sc ore of 1, and 49% r ece ived a sc ore of 2. Pe a rs on c hisq ua re te sts we re a lso c on du c te d to te st i nd e pe nd e nc e of ou tc ome varia bles. The tests provide d support for the inde pendenc e of mother s and c hilds

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26 solution qualit y score s, (4, N =105) = 3.31, p = .51. The tests also provided support for 2 the ind e pe nd e nc e of mot he rs s olu tio n q ua lit y sc or e s a nd so lut ion a g re e me nt s c or e s, (4, N =111) = 4.30, p = .37. The tests did not provide support for the inde pendenc e of 2 childs solution quality and solution ag ree ment, (4, N =105) = 16.14, p = .003. 2 Preliminary analy ses of mothers behavior s during the conf lict task y ielded corr elations that wer e we ak to modera te in siz e. Corre lations among varia bles are display ed in Table 4. A wea k signific ant associa tion was found betwe en childs solution quality and mothers positive behaviors, r = .23, p < .0 1, a s p re dic te d b y the fi rs t hy pothesis. Chil ds solution quality was a lso significa ntly corr elated w ith solut ion ag ree ment, r = .29, p < .05. Mothers solution quality howeve r, wa s not found to be signific antly associate d with mothers composite beha viors. Soluti on ag ree ment was found to be positively associate d with mothers positive behavior s, r = .20, p < .05, as predic ted, and wa s also found to be ne g atively associate d with mothers re ports of conflict fr equenc y and intensity r = -.27, p < .01 and r = -.26, p < 0 1 r e s p e c t i v e l y. Although both c orre lations were signific ant, their size indicated we ak assoc iations (L a nd is & Ko c h, 19 77 ). Mo the rs n e g a tiv e be ha vio rs we re po sit ive ly a sso c ia te d w ith c h i l d a n d m o t h e r s c o n f l i c t f r e q u e n c y, r = .30, p < .01 and r = .21, p < 0 5 r e s p e c t i v e l y. A mo n g p r e d ic to r a n d o u tc o me v a r ia b le s th e o n ly s ig n if ic a n t c o r r e la ti o n s w h o s e s iz e indicated a modera te associa tion were the cor rela tions among f reque ncy and intensity of conflict, ra ng ing f rom .20 to .42, p < .05, and the c orre lation betwee n mothers positive and neg ative beha viors, r = -.45, p < .01. Among covar iates, the size of the c orre lations tha t w e re sig nif ic a nt i nd ic a te d w e a k a sso c ia tio ns T he on ly sig nif ic a nt m od e ra te associations we re tha t of childs being white and mother being marrie d, r = .46, p < .01; and of be ing be low poverty and mother be ing ma rried, r = -.35, p < .01.

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27 Table 4. Correla tions among inde pendent a nd depende nt measure s and cova riates Var iable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 1 Mothers solution quality .05 .20* .09 .15 .07 .01 .16 -.04 .15 -.02 .03 -.06 -.08 2 Childs solut ion quality .29** .23** -.18* .01 -.18* .17 -.01 .13 .17 .19* -.07 -.15 3 Soluti on ag ree ment .20* -.10 -.05 -.27** .05 -.26** .01 .17 .16 -.08 -.02 4 Mothers positive beha viors -.45** -.22* -.21* -.17 -.25** .23** .24** .20* -.09-.23** 5 Mothers ne g ative beha viors .19* .09 .30** .21* -.07 -.15 -.18* -.01 .06 6 Childs conflict intensity .20* .42** .21* -.01 -.14 -.14 .22** .14 7 Mothers c onflict intensity .23** .39** .02 -.07 -.20* -.02 .11 8 Childs conflict fre quency .20* -.02 .01 .06 .05 .04 9 Mothers c onflict fre quency .06 -.08 -.10 -.02 -.01 10 Mothers e ducation .13 .12 -.28** -.05 11 Childs race .46** -.24** -.13 12 Marital status -.35** -.10 13 I ncome: B elow pover ty -.27** 14 I ncome: Missing Correla tion is si g nificant a t the 0.05 level (2tailed). ** Correla tion is si g nificant a t the 0.01 level (2tailed).

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28 Analysis Plan A s e ri e s o f h ie ra rc hic a l r e g re ssi on a na ly se s w e re c on du c te d to e xami ne the e ff e c ts of mot he rs b e ha vio rs c on fl ic t f re qu e nc y a nd c on fl ic t in te ns ity up on so lut ion qu a lit y and ag ree ment, while controlling for the de mogr aphic va riables of mothers e ducation, marital status, childs ra ce, a nd family income. De mogr aphic infor mation entere d on step 1 included mothers educa tion, family income, mothers marital status, and c hilds ra c e /e thn ic ity A hie ra rc hic a l r e g re ssi on mod e l w a s r un wi th t he pr e dic tor of mot he rs composite positive behaviors ( consisting of war mth, assertivene ss, and communication) en t er ed i n s t ep 2 S ep ar at e h i er ar ch i ca l re gre s s i o n an al y s es we re co n d u ct ed u s i n g a c omp os ite of mot he rs n e g a tiv e be ha vio rs (h os til ity d omi na nc e le c tur e /mo ra lize ) i n step 2. P redict ing S olution Quali ty Th e fi rs t mo de l ( a s d e sc ri be d a bo ve ) e xami ne d mo the rs p os iti ve be ha vio r a s a predic tor of mothers solution qualit y afte r ac counting for c ovaria tes (Ta ble 5). The mod e l w a s n ot s ig nif ic a nt f or mot he rs p os iti ve be ha vio rs a s a pr e dic tor of mot he rs solution qualit y F (6, 125) = .75, p = .61. The re w as a tre nd for a n association of mothers positive beha viors with childs solution qualit y F (6, 125) = 2.04, p = .07 for the over all model. I n g ener al, the evide nce did not support the r esea rch hy pothesis that mothers be haviors ar e pre dictive of solution quality Hiera rchic al multiple reg ression analy ses wer e run w ith the same cova riates e ntere d on step 1 and with mothers ne g ative behavior s entere d in step 2 as a pr edictor of solution qualit y (Table 6). The mode l was not significa nt for mothers neg ative beha viors as a pr edictor of mothers solution quality F (6, 125) = 1.30, p = .262. The overa ll relationship of mothers ne g ative behavior s as a pr edictor of childs solution quality was not sig nificant, F (6, 125) = 1.98, p = .0 7, a nd tot a l R = .09. The evidenc e did not support the re sear ch hy pothesis that 2

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29 mothers be haviors ar e pre dictive of mothers solution qualit y The finding s provided so me su pp or t f or the hy po the se s th a t hi g he r r a te s o f m oth e rs p os iti ve be ha vio rs wo uld be assoc iated with hig her r ates of c hilds soluti on quality and that lower rate s of mothers ne g ative beha viors would be assoc iated with lower rate s of childs solution quality Ta ble 5. Hi e ra rc hic a l r e g re ssi on mod e l e xami nin g mot he rs p os iti ve be ha vio r a s a predic tor of solution quality and ag ree ment, controlling for c ovaria tes Mothers solution qu a lit y Child's solution quality Soluti on ag ree ment Step 1 Mothers e ducation .19 (.14) .10 (.14) -.09 (.14) Child's ra ce/e thnicity -.11 (.15) .09 (.15) .14 (.14) Marital status .02 (.15) .18 (.15) .11 (.15) Be low poverty -.10 (.19) -.01 (.18) -.03 (.18) Missing income -.15 (.18) -.18 (.18) .06 (.17) R .03 .07 .04 2 Step 2 Mothers positive beha viors .01 (.02) .04 (.02) .04 (.02) R .01 .02 .03 2 F ina l R .04 .09 .07 2 Final model F (6, 125) = F (6, 125) = F (6, 125) = F .75 2.04 1.46 Not e Unstandar dized coeff icients and standa rd er rors a re shown. p < .10 Ta ble 6. Hi e ra rc hic a l r e g re ssi on mod e l e xami nin g mot he rs n e g a tiv e be ha vio r a s a predic tor of solution quality and ag ree ment, controlling for c ovaria tes Mothers solution qu a lit y Child's solution qu a lit y Soluti on ag ree ment Step 1 Mothers e ducation .22 (.14) .13 (.14) -.05 (.14) Child's ra ce/e thnicity -.08 (.15) .10 (.15) .17 (.14) Marital status .07 (.15) .16 (.16) .12 (.15) Be low poverty -.07 (.18) -.05 (.18) -.06 (.18) Missing income -.17 (.17) -.24 (.17) -.01 (.17) R .03 .07 .03 2 Step 2 Mothers ne g ative beha viors .05 (.03) -.04 (.03) -.02 (.03) R .03 .02 .01 2 F ina l R .06 .09 .04 2 Final model F (6, 125) = F (6, 125) = F (6, 125) = F 1.30 1.98 0.91 Note. Unstandar dized coeff icients and standa rd er rors a re shown. p < .10

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30 Hiera rchic al re g ression ana ly ses wer e also run on the fre quency and intensity of conflict a s predictor s of solution quality The pre dictors of c onflict fre quency as re ported by mother, conf lict intensity as re ported by mother, conf lict freque ncy as re ported by child, and conf lict intensity as re ported by child wer e ente red in step 2 of the model, and the af oreme ntioned covar iates we re e ntere d in step 1. The over all model was not signific ant for mother s solution quality F (9, 122) = 1.01, p = .4 4. Ho we ve r, the ov e ra ll model was sig nificant for both mother and c hilds reports of f reque ncy and intensity of conflict a s predictor s of childs solution quality F (9, 122) = 2.07, p = .0 4, a nd tot a l R = 2 .13 (Table 7). Table 7. Hiera rchic al re g ression model examining c onflict fre quency and intensity as pr e dic tor s o f s olu tio n q ua lit y a nd a g re e me nt, c on tr oll ing fo r c ov a ri a te s Mo the rs so lut ion qu a lit y C h i l d 's so lut ion qu a lit y Soluti on ag ree ment Step 1 Mothers e ducation .21 (.14) .14 (.14) -.02 (.13) Child's ra ce/e thnicity -.11 (.15) .12 (.15) .17 (.14) Marital status -.01 (.16) .10 (.16) .01 (.15) Be low poverty -.17 (.19) -.08 (.19) -.12 (.18) Missing income -.22 (.18) -.23 (.17) -.02 (.17) R .03 .07 .04 2 Step 2 Child's re port of conf lict intensity .07 (.16) -.01 (.16) .02 (.15) Mothers r eport of c onflict intensity .01 (.23) -.50 (.23) -.49 (.22) Child's re port of conf lict freque ncy .01 (.01) .02 (.01)* .01 (.01) Mothers r eport of c onflict fre quency -.01 (.01) .01 (.01) -.02 (.01) R .04 .06 .10** 2 F ina l R .07 .13 .14 2 Final model F (9, 122) = F (9, 122) = F (9, 122) = F 1.01 2.07* 2.24* Note. Unstandar dized coeff icients and standa rd er rors a re shown. p < .10, p < .10, *p < .05, **p < .01 122 There was a main eff ect f or mothers r eport of c onflict intensity t = -2.20, p = .03, and 122 for c hilds report of conflict fr equenc y t = 2.22, p = .03; howe ver, the in R fo r t his 2

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31 step was .06, p < .10. The curr ent study predic ted that hig her r ates of f reque ncy and int e ns ity of c on fl ic t, a s a sse sse d b y bo th m oth e r a nd c hil d, wo uld be a sso c ia te d w ith lower r ates of mother and childs solution quality and solution ag ree ment. Analy ses supported the e x pecte d results for some, but not all, of the indicators of c onflict. The f i n d i n g s p r o v i d e d s u p p o r t f o r t h e s t u d y s h yp o t h e s i s t h a t h i g h e r r a t e s o f c o n f l i c t i n t e n s i t y, as re ported by the mother, would be associate d with lower ra tes of childs solution quality Howeve r, hig her r ates of c onflict fre quency as asse ssed by the child, wer e found to be associa ted with highe r ra tes of childs solution quality The finding s did not provide support of an a ssociation betwee n conflict fr equenc y and intensity and mothers solution quality Effe ct size was fa irly small and varie d from .03 to .07 for c ovaria tes and fr om .04 to .11 for pre dictors. Sol ut ion Ag r e e m e nt Hiera rchic al multiple reg ression ana ly ses wer e conduc ted for mother s positive behavior s as pre dictive of solution ag ree ment, while controlling for c ovaria tes. The overa ll model was not signific ant, F (6, 125) = 1.46, p = .0 6, a nd tot a l R = .07 (Ta ble 5). 2 Hiera rchic al re g ression ana ly ses wer e also c onducted f or mothers ne g ative beha viors as predic tive of solution ag ree ment, but the model was not sig nificant, F (6, 125) = .91, p = .4 9 ( Ta ble 6) T ho ug h th e fi nd ing s p ro vid e d s ome su pp or t f or the re se a rc h h y po the sis that highe r ra tes of mothers positive behaviors would be associate d with highe r ra tes of solution agr eeme nt, the analy ses did not provide evide nce f or the hy pothesis that mothers ne g ative beha viors would be pre dictive of solution ag ree ment. Howeve r, mothers solution quality and childs solution quality wer e found to be strong predic tors of solution ag ree ment. The ove rall model wa s signific ant, F (7, 124) = 2.99, p = .006, and 124 tot a l R = .15, with main ef fec ts for both mothers solution quality t = 2.35, p = .021, 2

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32 124 and childs solution quality t = 3.12, p = .002. The in R for this step was .11, 2 p < .01, with 2 sig nificant pre dictors. Thoug h not a re sear ch hy pothesis of the pre sent study highe r ra tes of ag ree ment wer e found to be associate d with highe r ra tes of solution quality (Table 8). Table 8. Hiera rchic al re g ression ana ly ses examining mother a nd daug hter solution quality as pre dictors of solution ag ree ment, controlling for c ovaria tes Soluti on ag ree ment Step 1 Mothers e ducation -.11 (.13) Child's ra ce/e thnicity .17 (.14) Marital status .08 (.14) Be low poverty -.02 (.17) Missing income .09 (.16) R .04 2 Step 2 Mothers solution quality .19 (.08)* Child's solution quality .26 (.08)** R .11** 2 F ina l R .15 2 Final model F (7, 124) = F 2.99** Note. Unstandar dized coeff icients and standa rd er rors a re shown. *p < .05, **p < .01 A h ie ra rc hic a l r e g re ssi on mod e l w a s r un wi th f re qu e nc y a nd int e ns ity of c on fl ic t, as re ported by both mother and c hild, as predictor s of solution ag ree ment (Table 7). The overa ll model was signif icant, F (9, 122) = 2.24, p = .0 2, a nd tot a l R = .1 4, wi th m a in 2 122 eff ects for materna l report of both conflict fr equenc y and intensity t = -2.11, p = .04, 122 and t = -2.24, p = .03, re spectively A sig nificant ne g ative assoc iation was found betwee n mothers a ssessment of conf lict freque ncy and intensity and ar riving at an ag ree d upon solution, as was predic ted, with R = .10, p < .0 1 f or ste p 2 in t he mod e l. 2 That is, when mother s repor ted more c onflict, the dy ad wa s less likely to ag ree to a solution i n the discussion task.

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33 SUM MA RY Discussion Hig her le vels of fa mily conflict ha ve bee n found to be a ssociated with poore r outcomes in children ( Dadds, Atkinson, Turne r, B lums, & L endich, 1999; Reuter & Conge r, 1995; Vande water & L ansfor d, 1998). The pr imary purpose of the cur rent study was to examine the problemsolving proc ess betwe en mothers a nd daug hters in an attempt to better unde rstand how spe cific pa renta l behaviors impac t succe ssful resolution of conf lict. The pre sent rese arc h provided some limited support for mother s af fec tive and communica tive behavior s being predic tive of childs solution quality Hig her r ates of mothers be haviors we re not found to be associate d with highe r ra tes of solution a g re e me nt, a s w a s p re dic te d. Ho we ve r, mot he r a nd c hil d s so lut ion qu a lit y we re fo un d to be strong predic tors of solution ag ree ment. As expected, g rea ter c onflict intensity as r e p o r t e d b y t h e m o t h e r w a s f o u n d t o b e a s s o c i a t e d w i t h p o o r e r c h i l d s o l u t i o n q u a l i t y. Contrary to what was e x pecte d, g rea ter c onflict fre quency as re ported by the child, was found to be a ssociated with better child solution qualit y I n addition, mothers re ports of conflict fr equenc y and intensity wer e found to be neg atively associate d with soluti on a g re e me nt. Th e c ur re nt i nv e sti g a tio n p ro vid e d e vid e nc e tha t ho w o ft e n d isa g re e me nts occur and how he ated they become is connec ted to the problem-solving proce ss. A fa mily s ability to resolve c onflict has bee n shown to have ma ny positive outcomes for children. Children of families that eng ag e in ef fec tive conflict re solution behavior s and in joint decision-making have be en found to display lower le vels of

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34 internalizing proble ms, deviant beha vior, and drug use; demonstrate highe r leve ls of aca demic ac hievement; and ha ve better peer rela tions (Ashley & T omasello, 1998; B ro wn M ou nts L a mbo rn & Ste inb e rg 1 99 3; C ou g hli n, & Vu c hin ic h, 19 96 ; D a dd s, At kin so n, Tu rn e r, B lum s, & L e nd ic h, 19 99 ; D od g e & Pr ic e 1 99 4) I n c on tr a st, fa mil ie s inability to resolve c onflict has bee n found to be c orre lated with hig her r ates of ve rbal and phy sical ag g ression in boy s (For g atch, 1989) Howeve r, fe w studies have looke d at c on fl ic t r e so lut ion be tw e e n p a re nts a nd c hil dr e n in the mid dle c hil dh oo d p e ri od a nd in the home setting The pre sent rese arc h looked at spec ific af fec tive and communica tive pare nting behavior s, as well as r eports of c onflict in relation to how mothers a nd daug hters re solve conflict. Mother s eva luation of how hea ted disag ree ments were with daug hter wa s found to be a sig nificant pre dictor of c hilds soluti on quality Specifica lly highe r ra tes of c on fl ic t in te ns ity a s a sse sse d b y mot he r, we re a sso c ia te d w ith low e r s olu tio n q ua lit y score s for c hildren. This provides e vidence that conflict intensity has a ne g ative impact on conflict re solution. This is in keeping with resea rch f indings that pa renta l ang er a nd hostili ty are associate d with ineffe ctive fa mily problem solving ( Conge r, Ge Elder, & L orenz, 1994; McCulloch, Gilbert, & J ohnson, 1990). Contrary to what was pr edicted, daug hters' evalua tion of how often a rg uments occur with their mothers wa s found to be a sso c ia te d w ith hig he r s olu tio n q ua lit y sc or e s f or da ug hte rs T his ma y be du e to daug hters having g rea ter e x perie nce in de bating with their mothers over issues that are problematic to them. Rese arc h has found that c onflict with mother and sibling s may influence children s social deve lopment (Dunn, B rown, Slomlowski, Tesla, & Young blade, 1991) Mother and sibling s use of pe rspec tive-taking in arg uments was

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35 fo un d to be po sit ive ly a sso c ia te d w ith c hil d s u se of c omp ro mis e in r e so lvi ng c on fl ic ts with friends (D unn & H err era 1997). A sig nificant ne g ative assoc iation was found be tween mother s assessment of conflict fr equenc y and intensity and ar riving at an a g ree d upon solution, as was predic ted. This provides evide nce tha t a fa mily s ability to resolve c onflict is hampere d by highe r fr equenc y and intensity of conf lict. How often disag ree ments occur and how he a te d th e y be c ome a pp e a rs to i mpa c t th e pr ob le mso lvi ng pr oc e ss. Th e re su lts fr om t his study could serve as evide nce tha t the more ofte n families ar g ue, and the more he ated the a rg ume nts be c ome th e le ss l ike ly fa mil y me mbe rs a re to r e a c h a g re e me nt o n a po ssi ble solution. Ho we ve r, so lut ion qu a lit y wa s a sig nif ic a nt p re dic tor of so lut ion a g re e me nt. Hig her qua lity solutions provide more information about the pr oblem under discussion and may offe r a w orkable plan of a ction for r esolving the problem. I t is not surprising that with highe r quality solutions, agr eeme nt was more of ten re ache d. I t may be that mothers ar e unlikely to ag ree to low-level solutions offer ed by daug hters, solutions that a r e i n a p p r o p r i a t e e x p l o i t i v e u n r e l a t e d t o t h e p r o b l e m a t h a n d o r a r e m e r e l y a restate ment of the proble m. Parenta l expression of neg ative emotions, such as hostility and dominance has been f ound to be neg atively associate d with family problem-solving outcome (F org atch, 19 89 ). Pa re nta l w a rm th h a s b e e n s ho wn to b e re la te d to a va ri e ty of po sit ive ou tc ome s in ch i l d re n p ar t i cu l ar l y am o n g gi rl s T h e p ar en t i n g b eh av i o rs o f i n h i b i t i n g n ega t i v e f ee l i n gs and re maining f ocused on the problem-solving proce ss have be en found to be benef icial in r e so lvi ng dif fe re nc e s ( F or g a tc h, 19 89 ). Th e pr e se nt s tud y e xami ne d mo the rs behavior s in relation to the quality of solutions ge nera ted during a discussion task and

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36 whether ag ree ment on a solution was re ache d. Mothers a ffe ctive and c ommunicative behavior s did not appear to impact solution qualit y contra ry to what was pr edicted. There are sever al limitations to the prese nt study The sample w as dra wn from urban N ew Yor k are as, and so may not be re prese ntative of other urban, r ural, or su bu rb a n a re a s th ro ug ho ut t he c ou ntr y I n a dd iti on a pp ro xima te ly 20 % o f t he sa mpl e did no t pr ov ide inf or ma tio n o n in c ome T ho ug h th is r e sp on se ra te is t y pic a l, a nd re fu sa l to repor t income was inc luded in the ana ly ses, it is not clear how the missing data ma y have a ff e c te d th e fi nd ing s. Ef fe c t si ze v a ri e d f ro m .0 3 to .0 7 f or c ov a ri a te s a nd fr om 00 3 to .1 1 f or pr e dic tor s, wi th t ota l R betwee n .09 and .15. While not larg e, such e ffe ct sizes are 2 no t un us ua l in ps y c ho so c ia l st ud ie s. Th e pr e se nt s tud y e xplor e d th e e ff e c ts o f m oth e rs behavior s on conflict re solution, but did not ex amine the impac t of fathe rs' and of c hil dr e n s b e ha vio rs on fa mil y c on fl ic t. S inc e the re a c tio ns a nd re str ic tio ns of bo th pare nts impact family conflict, fa ther-c hild interaction is a cr itical component of understanding the way s in which families navig ate c onflict. Another limitation is that the stu dy uti lize d a str uc tur e d d isc us sio n f or ma t of on ly 7 mi nu te s in du ra tio n, a s o pp os e d to natura listi c obser vation in the home, and so may fail to ca pture much of what mig ht occur in spontaneous conve rsation. The time c onstraint could have restric ted the discussion, resulting in a limit ed eva luation of the problem. Ha d more time bee n allotted, participa nts might have explored and integ rate d other issues and solutions rele vant to the pr ob le m di sc us se d, a nd po ssi bly ha ve a rr ive d a t be tte r t ho ug ht o ut, hig he r q ua lit y solutions. A gre ater discussion tim e allotment could have resulted in the g ener ation of multipl e hig h quality solutions, providi ng a ra ng e of pote ntially helpful solutions, which could have fac ilitated children in produc ing hig h quality solutions. The structured f ormat of 4 g uiding que stions could have nar rowe d the discussion, discourag ed exploration of

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37 other important questions, and dire cted c onversa tion toward a limited rang e of pote ntial solutions. A less directive appr oach, w ith gr eate r discussion time provided, mig ht have captur ed more of wha t actually occur s in family discussion of contentious topics. F ut ur e Di r e c ti ons and I m plic at ion s Sin c e mos t st ud ie s o f f a mil y c on fl ic t f oc us on e a rl y c hil dh oo d a nd a do le sc e nc e it is difficult to determine whe ther the c hang es occ urring in family conflict during a do le sc e nc e ha ve pr e c ur so rs in t he mid dle c hil dh oo d p e ri od T he c ur re nt s tud y sp e a ks to thi s g a p in the lit e ra tur e by e xami nin g pa re ntc hil d c on fl ic t be fo re the e ntr y int o adolesc ence Altera tions in t he par ent-c hild relationship acr oss middle childhood and adolesc ence may ref lect small, g radua l, increme ntal chang es as oppose d to larg e, major dis ru pti on s o c c ur ri ng wi th t he a dv e nt o f t he sto rm y te e na g e y e a rs O f f ur the r i nte re st i s re se a rc h th a t lo ok s a t c ha ng e s in fa mil y dy na mic s a c ro ss a g e a nd g e nd e r. Spe c if ic p a r e n t i n g b e h a v i o r s c o u l d h a v e a d i f f e r e n t i m p a c t a t d i f f e r e n t s t a g e s o f c h i l d h o o d In addition, cer tain behavior s on the part of children ma y be more useful in handling conflict a t cer tain developmenta l stag es. The issues over which par ents and c hildren disag ree may also vary by ag e and g ender Steinberg (1990) ha s sugg ested that ther e may be diffe rent de velopmental themes, such a s autonomy and indepe ndence underly ing the issues about which fa milies dis a g re e Sm e ta na a nd As qu ith (1 99 4) pr op os e d th a t th e re a re c ha ng e s a c ro ss m idd le childhood and adole scenc e in the interpr etation of mora l issues, with older children be ing more likely to judge issues of morality and conve ntion as being under one s own per sonal jurisdiction. Such findings wa rra nt further study of the ty pes of issues ove r which families disag ree acr oss childhood.

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38 Also of intere st is the association betwee n mental hea lth and family conflict. Ar e pa re nta l a ff e c tiv e c ha ra c te ri sti c s a nd pr ob le mso lvi ng be ha vio rs a sso c ia te d w ith int e rn a lizin g pr ob le ms i n c hil dr e n? Ar e the re sp e c if ic c omm un ic a tiv e a nd pr ob le mso lvi ng be ha vio rs on the pa rt of c hil dr e n th a t a re a sso c ia te d w ith be tte r m e nta l he a lth in c hil dr e n? The pr e se nt s tud y so ug ht t o p ro vid e inf or ma tio n th a t c ou ld b e re le va nt t o individuals working in a thera peutic or e ducational c apac ity with families. Thoug h the curr ent study did not directly assess adjustment outcomes, pr ior studies have f ound that pa re nti ng be ha vio rs imp a c t c hil dr e n s d ru g us e a c a de mic a c hie ve me nt, pe e r r e la tio ns and neg otiation of conflict. F uture wor k could include a n examination of conflict resolution in relation to child outcome. A be tter under standing of the e ffe cts of par enting behavior s can improve family rela tions and lead to hea lthier psy chosocia l functioning for both pare nts and children. The pre sent rese arc h finding s reg arding conflict fr equenc y and intensity are re le va nt t o p e op le wo rk ing wi th f a mil ie s. I nd ivi du a ls w or kin g wi th f a mil ie s sh ou ld perha ps ref rain fr om minim izi ng the ef fec ts of family conflict, a nd from dismissing family conflict in the pre teen a nd teena g e y ear s as normative a nd harmless. The fre quency and intensity of conf lict may serve as indices f or fa mily functioning The finding s from this study could serve as evide nce tha t the more ofte n families ar g ue, and the more he ated the a rg uments become the less likely family members a re to re ach ag ree ment on a possible solution. Many of the c hang es in family dy namics that take place in adolesce nce ha ve orig ins in early and middle childhood fa mily rela tions. Researc h on mother-da ug hter conflict-r esolution can c ontribute to a better understanding of g irls deve lopment and of pare nt-child rela tions. The prese nt study identified some par enting behavior s benef icial

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39 t o d i s c u s s i n g a n d r e s o l v i n g c o n f l i c t w i t h g i r l s i n m i d d l e c h i l d h o o d L e a r n i n g b e t t e r w a ys to c omm un ic a te a nd int e ra c t w ith c hil dr e n a t th is d e ve lop me nta l st a g e c ou ld h e lp fa mil ie s mo re e ff e c tiv e ly me e t th e c ha ng ing ne e ds of the ir c hil dr e n a nd be tte r d e a l w ith the upcoming challeng es of a dolesce nce.

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40 A P P E N D IX GI RL S AN D B OY S HE AL TH AN D D EV EL OPM EN T PR OJEC T CONFL I CT RESOL UTI ON CODEB OOK Deve loped by Gillian Nassau J ulia A. Gra ber, Ph.D. Fe bruar y 01, 2005 Th is p ro je c t w a s su pp or te d b y g ra nts fr om t he Na tio na l I ns tit ute of Chi ld H e a lth and Human D evelopment ( NI CHD; HD32376) a nd the National I nstitut e of Me ntal H e a l t h ( N IM H ; M H 5 6 5 5 7 ) a s w e l l a s s u p p o r t f r o m t h e D e p a r t m e n t o f P s yc h o l o g y, University of F lorida. Introduction The pa rent a nd child wer e sepa rate ly prese nted a 28item chec klist of issues about which par ents and c hildren often disa g ree The pa rent a nd child eac h identified issues that cause d disag ree ment or conf lict in their relationship. Two of the issues that the dy ad identified we re se lected f or discussion. The pa rticipants wer e provide d with a list of 4 leading statements to be used f or g uid ing the dis c us sio n: W hat is the problem; How does the problem begin; W ho becom es involve d in the problem; W hat might be done to avoid this problem in the future. The pa rticipants wer e then g iven 5-7 minutes for disc ussion of the 2 issues of disag ree ment. The discussion was vide otaped. This manua l focuses on c oding the ty pe of problem discussed, solution quality and par ents lec turing or moralizing be haviors. F or

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41 e ve ry vid e ota pe d p a re ntc hil d in te ra c tio n, c od e s w e re c re a te d f or e a c h o f t he 2 p ro ble ms discussed. The c hild-rea ring issues list was used to code the type of problem discussed. The list included 28 problema tic issues, eac h of which w as assig ned an a rbitrar y code (e.g ., the problem of making too much noise at home w as code d ) A conf lict resolution scale was used to a ssess the solut ion qu ality of the ser ies of solutions g ener ated by eac h participa nt. Solut ion quality was scor ed sepa rate ly for pa rent a nd c hil d s olu tio ns a nd se pa ra te ly fo r e a c h to pic dis c us se d. An a dd iti on a l sc a le wa s u se d to c od e the de g re e of pa re nt s le c turi ng o r mora liz ing behavior s during the entire ty of the interac tion. The c odes for Soluti on Quality and L ectur e/Moralize wer e ada pted from the I owa Fa mily I ntera ctions Rating sc ales (Me lby et al., 1998) by Nassau a nd Gra ber. Content of the sca les was a dapted ba sed on the protoc ol and re sponses of par ticipants in the prese nt investiga tion as well as for conce ptual rea sons. Topi c of Pr oblem As indicated, pa rticipants wer e g iven 2 problems to discuss based on a standard chec klist of problems that commonly occur betwee n pare nts and children or adolesc ents. Pa rt ic ipa nts ma y or ma y no t di sc us s b oth of the pr ob le ms g ive n a nd so me tim e s d isc us s other issues. Use the Chi ldRe ar ing Is su e s F or m on the next page to code the na ture of the problem that is discussed for eac h of the two topics. Coding Ru les i. I f par ticipants acknow ledg e and disc uss more than 2 topics, only code the first 2. ii. I f no topics wer e discussed, c ode this variable as for both var iables. iii I f o nly on e top ic wa s d isc us se d b e fo re the int e ra c tio n e nd e d, c od e the fi rs t to pic using the Chi ldRe ar ing Is su e s F or m and code the sec ond topic as .

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42 Child -Re aring Issu es F orm Pro b l em # Desc ription 1 Manner s 2 Te le ph on e c a lls 3 Be havior towa rds (step) brothers a nd sisters 4 Be havior towa rds mother 5 Be havior towa rds ___________ (other partne r) 6 Om it 7 Getting up in the morning 8 Ge tti ng to s c ho ol o n ti me 9 Choice of r eading materia l, music, art, etc. 10 T.V., how much he /she watc hes, which shows, e tc. 11 Cursing or swea ring 12 Personal appe ara nce ( choice of clothes, ha ircuts, etc.) 13 Ho us e ho ld r ou tin e s ( be dti me s, me a l ti me s, re g ula r t ime s f or c ho re s, study ing, e tc.) 14 Homewor k (completing quality of, etc .) 15 School gr ades 16 Be havior a t school 17 Making too much noise at home (ta lking too loudly y elling, e tc.) 18 Pla y ing the ra dio s te re o, T. V. too lou dly 19 Taking car e of ta pes/CDs, g ames, bikes, pe ts, etc. 20 How fr ee time is spent 21 Curfew (coming home on time) 22 L etting y ou know wher e he/she is and what he /she is doing whe n awa y from ho me 23 Kee ping r oom tidy or cle an 24 Bothe ring y ou and y our spouse/sig nificant other when y ou want to be a lone 25 Bothe ring siblings when the y want to be a lone 26 Going to churc h, sy nag og ue, mosque, e tc. 27 Ty pe of so c ia l a c tiv iti e s th a t he /sh e is i nv olv e d in (d a nc e s, mov ie s, g oin g to mall, etc.) 28 Ca n y ou thi nk of a no the r a re a of dis a g re e me nt t ha t w e did no t ta lk a bo ut? PL EASE SPEC I FY.

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43 Sol ut ion Qua lit y Sc ale Con fl ic t r e so lut ion is t he pr oc e ss o f g e ne ra tin g on e or mor e mut ua lly a g re e a ble solutions. A solution is a n a ns we r t o a pr ob le m. T he pr oc e ss o f c omi ng to a mut ua lly ag ree able solution may involve multipl e compone nt proce sses, including the re sta te ment of the problem (ar ticulation of the problem in diffe rent wor ds) and e lab or ati on o f t he problem (addition of informa tion about the problem), a s well as the de v e lop ment o f o ne or more so luti ons Gene rating possible soluti ons can pr ovide choice s and ca n be helpf ul in shaping an ac cepta ble solution. This scale is used to assess solution quality The a sse ssm e nt o f s olu tio n q ua lit y e nta ils loo kin g a t e le me nts of the c on ve rs a tio n th a t le a d to a mut ua lly a g re e a ble so lut ion T his sc a le is u se d to c a te g or ize the na tur e of the hig he st q u a l i t y s o l u t i o n T h e f o l l o w i n g f a c t o r s a r e i m p o r t a n t i n d e t e r m i n i n g s o l u t i o n q u a l i t y: Restat em ent of the problem Participants may restate the problem in diffe rent wor ds but without providing any additional information. Such re statements nee d not occur in the proce ss of g ener ating a solution, but when they do occur they may help direc t the discussion toward a solution. R estateme nt alone does not produc e a solution. I f the proc ess of g ener ating a solution does not advanc e bey ond a re statement of the pr oblem, then the solution pr od uc e d ( wh ic h is a re sta te me nt o f t he pr ob le m) re pr e se nts low to i nte rm e dia te levels of ove rall solution quality Elab oration of the probl em P ar t i ci p an t s m ay el ab o ra t e b y p ro v i d i n g additional i nformation about the proble m rathe r than just restating the problem. Elabor ating statements nee d not occur in the proce ss of g ener ating a solution, but when they do occur they may help direc t the discussion toward a solution. I f the proc ess of g ener ating a solution does not advanc e bey ond elabor ation, the discussion repr esents interme diate leve ls of overa ll solut ion quality Achievable and b eneficial solu tion An ac hie v ab le solution i s one that is capa ble of be ing a ccomplished or of being perf ormed succ essfully Sy nony ms for ac hievable a re a ttainable, fe asible, re alizable, viable, possible, re acha ble, doable, pr actica l, and worka ble. An ac hievable solution repr esents a hig h level of solution quality A be ne fic ial so lut ion is o ne tha t is helpful, usef ul, valuable, a dvantag eous, or of assistance A proposed solution may or may not be ac hie v ab le A pr op os e d s olu tio n ma y or ma y no t be po te nti a lly be ne fic ial A p o t e n t i a l l y b e n e f i c i a l s o l u t i o n r e p r e s e n t s a h i g h l e v e l o f s o l u t i o n q u a l i t y.

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44 P lan of action A p la n o f a c tio n d e sc ri be s how to s olv e the pr ob le m. A pla n o f a c tio n in c lud e s b oth a s o l u t i o n an d an ex am p l e s p ec i fy i n g how to achieve that solution. A plan of action a lw a y s p ro vid e s specific information (infor mation that is detailed or explicit) about particula r beha viors require d to bring about the desire d solution. That is, sol utions that are specific are detailed a nd expli cit. Even if a solution i s achie vable a nd benef icial, the solution stil l may not possess enoug h specific information to be ca rried o u t A p l an o f a ct i o n t h at i s ac h i ev ab l e a n d p o t en t i al l y b en ef i ci al re p re s en t s a h i gh level of solution quality The scor e for solution qualit y is based on the pa rticipants hig hest quality solution among the serie s of solutions proposed during the entire ty of the discussion. For example, suppose we a re sc oring the quality of the solutions ge nera ted by the child for problem 1. I f the c hild ge nera ted 3 solutions over the cour se of the disc ussion of that problem, only the hig hest quality solution i s score d. Coding Ru les i. Occ asionally discussion procee ds to a third problem. Only score the first two problems identified. ii. I f a pa rent or c hild builds onto or expands a solution, give c redit for the whole se ries of solutions when scoring solution qualit y The following descr ibes the spec ific scor es to be c oded for eac h person in the dy ad for eac h problem discussed. I n most cases, e x amples ar e provide d for the disag ree ment kee ping y our room tidy . Solu tion Qu ality Scores 0 = No Sol utio n: This score is used w hen the pa rticipant did not propose a solution or eng ag e in any activities descr ibed in this scale. Example s include: I dont know. ( Statement is not a solution) L ets wor k on it. (Statement is not a solution) 1 = F a i l u r e t o A c k n o w l e d g e t h e P r o b l e m: I n th is s itu a tio n, on e pa rt ic ipa nt f a ile d to acknow ledg e as a problem the issue identified f or discussion, while the other pa rt ic ipa nt d id a c kn ow le dg e the ide nti fi e d is su e a s a pr ob le m.

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45 Example s include: I do too ke e p my ro om c le a n, c hil d c ou nte rs ( Chi ld d oe s n ot a c kn ow le dg e a s a problem the issue that wa s selecte d for discussion. Pare nt, however does not ag ree with child.) I d o n t t h i n k t h a t s a p r o b l e m I d o n t t h i n k t h e r e s a n yt h i n g w r o n g w i t h t h e w a y I dress. (Child does not acknowle dg e as a problem the issue of pe rsonal appea ranc e. The pare nt, however believes the childs attire is inappr opriate.) No te : Do no t sc or e a s a t he dis c us sio n in wh ic h th e pa rt ic ipa nt h a s b e c ome convince d of the leg itimacy of the proble m over the c ourse of the discussion (e.g ., wh e n c hil d f ir st d isa g re e s th a t r oo m is a me ss b ut l a te r a c kn ow le dg e s th e ro om i s a mess). 2 = Ina pp ro pr iat e Sol utio n: A solution is proposed but the soluti on does not addre ss the pr ob le m id e nti fi e d. Th e so lut ion ma y be e xploi tiv e or is n ot s e ri ou s ( i.e s olu tio n is offe red in a flippant or sar castic ma nner, or is not int ended to be a ser ious soluti on). Or, the solution proposed is cle arly not achieva ble. Example s include: L ets g o to the moon! (Solution is not achievable and does not a ddress proble m identified.) May be we ll win the lottery . (Solution does not addre ss problem identified.) L et me have my own bedr oom or L ets g et a house keepe r ( Soluti on is not achie vable since solution m ay be fina ncially prohibitive.) You c an cle an my room. (Solution is ex ploitive) The three other kids ca n share one bedr oom and I ll g et the other bedroom. (Solution i s expl oitive.) I d c le a n my ro om i f y ou too k me to t he mov ie s a ft e rw a rd s. (S olu tio n is exploi tive.) Note: Whe n c on sid e ri ng wh e the r a pr op os e d s olu tio n is a c hie va ble it is i mpo rt a nt t o keep in mind the bac kg round of the pa rticipants in the study Do not assume that any solutions are ac hievable tha t would be financ ially costly (e.g ., move to another house; g et one s own room; hire a housekee per) 3 = R e s t a t e me n t o f t h e P r o b l e m: No so lut ion is g ive n b ut t he pa rt ic ipa nt p ro vid e s a restate ment of the proble m. Or a solution is give n that mere ly restate s the other participa nts solution (i.e. no orig inal solution i s g ener ated) Restatement is the articula tion of the problem in diffe rent wor ds but without providing any additional information. Restatement c an be in the f orm of a de clar ative stateme nt or a que stion. F or e xamp le if the pr ob le m is k e e pin g r oo m t idy or c le an , the n a re sta te me nt i s you need to c lean your room or why dont you ke ep your room c lean? Re sta te me nt d oe s n ot i nc lud e re a din g the pr ob le m id e nti fi e d v e rb a tim T his sc or e is also used whe n the par ticipant asks a que stion that does not add any information about the proble m. As noted, solutions are code d under this ca teg ory when the solution ex presse d by the par ticipant is just a restatement of the other pe rsons solution or the soluti on involves restating the problem with no additional informa tion on how this would be done ( I need to c lean my room ).

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46 Example s include: Yo u s ho uld ke e p y ou r r oo m c le a n. (S olu tio n is a re sta te me nt o f p ro ble m) I sh ou ldn t me ss u p my ro om. (S olu tio n is a re sta te me nt o f p ro ble m) I need to lowe r my voice. (Solution i s a re statement of the pr oblem of be ing too noisy ) I ll clea n my room. (Child does not explain how this wil l be ac complished; the solution i s not specific; ther e is no plan of a ction.) I ll leave y ou alone whe n y ou ask for time to relax by y ourself. (Child restates mothers solution.) 4 = E l a b o r a t i o n u p o n t h e P r o b l e m: Discussion only elabor ates upon the pr oblem without ge nera ting a solution. Elaboration can inc rea se one s understanding of the problem by providing additional information about the pr oblem. Participants may a lso e la bo ra te on the pr ob le m by pr ov idi ng a le a din g sta te me nt o r q ue sti on tha t is de sig ne d to e lic it i nf or ma tio n a bo ut t he pr ob le m or so lut ion s uc h a s where do you le av e y ou r c lot he s or y ou r c lot he s b e lon g in the L eading statements ca n fac ilitate discussion and stimul ate the pr ocess of g ener ating solutions. El abora tion c a n th e re by se rv e a s a he lpf ul m e a ns of a rr ivi ng a t a so lut ion b ut d oe s n ot o f i tse lf y ield a solution. Example s include: You lea ve y our toy s and clothes ly ing a round y our room. ( Parent e labora tes by providing information about the pr oblem.) I dont put things aw ay when I m done using them. (Child elabor ates upon problem.) Wha t if I c a n t r e a c h th e toy sh e lf to p ut a wa y my toy s?; B ut then I could g et in trouble if I defe nd my sister. (Child poses question desig ned to elicit information about the tena bility of mothers solution.) And wha t else could y ou do to keep y our room cle an? (Par ent poses a le ading question to elicit a more de tailed solution.) 5 = Ac hie v ab le and Spe c if ic Sol utio n: Soluti on is achieva ble, spec ific, and c ould be benef icial. Solution i ncludes a plan of action The plan of action provides an example of one or mor e spec ific ac tiviti es that could be helpful to rea ching the so lut ion pr op os e d. Th us th e pla n e xpla ins how to achieve the solution proposed. Example s include: You c ould put one toy awa y befor e taking out another one . We could g et a bin for y ou to put y our dirty clothes into. You c ould go to be d ear ly . (This solution to the problem of g etting up in the morning descr ibes a spec ific ac tion that could be bene ficial in solving the problem identified.) You c ould clean the mess up rig ht after y ouve ma de it. You c ould straig hten y our room ea ch nig ht before y ou watch T V. I could put awa y my toy s befor e I g o to bed. Tha ts not a problem a ny more. You now just tell y our fr iends y ou can only talk on the phone be tween 4 a nd 6 pm. (B oth pare nt and child see m to feel the issue

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47 identified for discussion is no longer a proble m. Howeve r, they descr ibe a solution t hey had pre viously worke d out to the problem identified, a solution that descr ibes a plan of action they used to solve the proble m.) Codes for Missing Data 99 = S k i p p e d t h e P r o b l e m: BO TH par ent and c hild failed to addre ss (i.e. skipped) the problem identified f or discussion. BO TH par ent and c hild failed to ac knowledg e the pr ob le m id e nti fi e d f or dis c us sio n a s a pr ob le m f or the m. I f t he pa re nt a nd c hil d b oth fail to ac knowledg e the issue identifie d as any longe r a pr oblem for them, but descr ibe how they had pre viously solved the problem, then r ate the qua lity of the solution described (se e last example under 5) Example s include: We dont have that problem any more. (B oth pare nt and child see m to feel the issue identified for discussion is no longer a proble m. No solution i s discussed.) Yo u d on t ta lk o n th e ph on e too muc h, pa re nt s ta te s w hil e c hil d n od s in a g re e me nt. (B oth pa re nt a nd c hil d s e e m to fe e l th e iss ue ide nti fi e d f or dis c us sio n, na me ly telephone c alls, is no longer a proble m.) Note : A score of must be score d in all 3 categ ories for that problem ( solution g ener ated by pare nt, solution ge nera ted by child, and solution agr eed upon by pare nt and child) 99 = Missin g: Coder is unable to he ar the taped discussion cle arly or par ticipants beg an discussing issue, but then r an out of time. Sol ut ion Ag r e e m e nt Sc ale The discussion of e ach pr oblem is also scored in ter ms of whether or not the pa re nt a nd c hil d a g re e d to a so lut ion O ve r t he c ou rs e of the dis c us sio n o f t he pr ob le m, sever al solutions may have be en g ener ated. I n this case, f ocus on the fina l phase of the dis c us sio n a nd de te rm ine if the pa re nt a nd c hil d a g re e to a so lut ion I f o ne pa rt y ini tia lly ag ree s to a solution but ot her solutions are prese nted and discusse d, do not count this as ag ree ment. Use both ver bal and nonve rbal indica tions of ag ree ment to the other pe rsons solutions. That is, t he par ticipant may say ok or I could do that, or may simply nod in affir mation. The ag ree ment need not a ppear sincere 0 = No indica tion that both parties ag ree 1 = Ve rbal or nonverba l ag ree ment indicated

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48 Lecture /Moralize Scale This scale is used to mea sure the de g ree to which the par ent pre sents information in a ma nn e r t ha t ma y be pr e a c hy in tr us ive p us hy o r m or a lizin g Ra the r t ha n d isc us s issues, the pare nt may simply lecture the child or tell how thing s rea lly are or should be. The pa rent may speak in a way that appea rs to be rhe torical, c ritical, or judg mental. The pare nt may scold or re primand the c hild. The pare nt may interrupt the c hild or may not g ive the child a c hance to respond, initiate, or think independe ntly At lower le vels of le c tur ing or mor a lizin g be ha vio rs a pa re nt m a y pr ov ide sh or t di sc ou rs e s o n to pic s, pr e se nt m a xims, a nd /or sta te tr uis ms. A h ig h s c or e on the le c tur e /mo ra lize sc a le i n d i ca t es t h at t h e p ar en t en gage s i n ex t en d ed m o n o l o gu es co n ce rn i n g t h e w ay t h i n gs should or shouldnt be, tells how people should or shouldnt a ct, g ives morality lessons from his/her own e x perie nces, a nd/or g ives advice based on his/ her superior insig ht. A pa re nt m a y a lso re c e ive a hig h s c or e by e xhibi tin g fr e qu e nt b ri e f e xamp le s o f t he se behavior s. At any scale level, the a ffe ctive quality may be positive, neg ative, or ne utral. On ly pa re nts re c e ive a sc or e on thi s sc a le a nd sc or e s a re ba se d o n th e dis c us sio n o f b oth topics of disag ree ment. Thus, one scor e is g iven to the entire interac tion. Ex am ple s o f le c tur ing an d m or ali zin g b e ha v ior s: You should know be tter Don t y ou think its about tim e y ou start doing When I was a kid You ha ve to help me. I t is imp or ta nt t ha t ki ds g e t th e ir ho me wo rk do ne a s so on a s th e y c ome ho me from school. Kids nee d to be more r esponsible for g etting home work done on their own. The y shouldnt have to wa it for their pa rents to re mind them. Lecture /Moralize Scores 0 = Not at all Charac ter istic: The pa rent doe s not demonstrate a ny lecturing or moralizing be haviors.

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49 1 = Som ewhat Character istic: Th e pa re nt sometimes dis pla y s le c tur ing or mor a lizin g be ha vio rs a t a low to modera te level. The se beha viors are brief, inf reque nt, and of low intensity Th e se be ha vio rs do no t a pp e a r t o im pe de the c on ve rs a tio n. Th e se be ha vio rs tho ug h th e y ma y be a nn oy ing or we a ri so me to o the rs d o n ot a pp e a r t o ma ke it difficult for othe rs to express their views. 2 = Mainly Characte ristic: Th e pa re nt us ua lly display s lecturing or moralizing be haviors. The se beha viors occur throug hout most of the conver sation, and may become extended and unrele nting. Such be haviors may be more intense and pr olonge d. The pa rent ma y be mor e int ru siv e a nd ma y le c tur e or mor a lize to t he po int of ma kin g it difficult for othe rs to express their views. The pare nt tends to monopoli ze the conver sation and seldom g ives the child a c hance to respond. Twoway communication may be ac tively inhibited. Clarifications of Lecturing and Moralizing Behavi ors : i. L e c tur ing a nd mor a lizin g be ha vio rs of te n in c lud e ve rb a l int e rru pti on s by the pare nt, espec ially interruptions that are overw helming, c omplaining in natur e, or tha t do no t a llo w t he oth e rs to t hin k f or the mse lve s. I nte rr up tio ns a re lik e ly to ind ic a te le c tur ing or mor a lizin g if the y re du c e r a the r t ha n in c re a se d isc us sio n in t h e f a m i l y. i i I n t er ru p t i n g b eh av i o r f o l l o we d b y s h o u l d o r o u gh t s t at em en t s ev en t h o u gh not neg ative in emotional af fec t, may indicate lec turing or moralizing. iii. L ectur ing or moralizing par ental beha vior often c onvey s beliefs a nd opinions in a lecturing annoy ing ma nner, but a lso can be delivere d more ne utrally or eve n positively iv. Pa re nts c a n tu rn a n in te ra c tio n in to a so a pbo x lec tur e by te lli ng the c hil d a ll he/she doe s wrong or should be doing (e.g ., y ou alway s/never ) or by e xtoll ing the vir tue s o f g e tti ng g oo d g ra de s o r h ow lif e fo r t he pa re nt w a s a s a child. v. L ectur ing or moralizing to the ca mera is considere d lecturing or moralizing to the child. vi. Sc or e L e c tur e /Mo ra lize if the pa re nt u se s p re a c hy sh ou ld/ ou g ht sta te me nts even if these a re shor t. Such statements convey the sense tha t I m the expert; let me tell y ou how things r eally work, or I m telling y ou this for y our own g ood. They close off rathe r than invite, dialog ue.

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50 REF ERE NC ES Adams, R, & L aurse n, B. ( 2001). The or g anization and dy namics of a dolesce nt conflict with pare nts and frie nds. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 63 97-110. As hle y J., & To ma se lla M ( 19 98 ). Coo pe ra tiv e pr ob le mso lvi ng a nd te a c hin g in presc hoolers. Social Dev elopment, 7, 143-164. Ba ndura, A (1969). Principles of behavior modification N e w Y or k: R ine ha rt & Wins ton. Br own, B B., Mounts, N., L amborn, S. D., & Steinberg L (1993). Par enting prac tices and pee r g roup af filiation in adolescenc e. Child Developme nt, 64, 467-482. Cla rk R. & Ar mst e a d, C. ( 20 00 ). F a mil y c on fl ic t pr e dic ts b loo d p re ssu re c ha ng e s in Afric an-A merica n adolesc ents: A preliminary examination. Journal of Adolesce nce, 23, 355-358 Conge r, R. D., Ge, X ., Elder, G. H ., & L orenz, F. O (1994). Ec onomic stress, coe rcive family proce ss, and deve lopmental problems of a dolesce nts. Chi ld D e v e lop me nt, 65, 541-561. Coughlin, C., & V uchinich, S. (1996). F amily experience in prea dolesce nce a nd the development of male delinquenc y Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 491502. Cum min g s, E. M. Z a hn -Wa xler C. & Ra dk e -Y a rr ow M ( 19 81 ). Yo un g pe rs on s response s to ex pressions of a ng er a nd aff ection by others in the fa mily Chi ld Dev elopment, 52 1274-1282. Csiksz entmihaly i, M., & L arson, R. (1984) Being adolesce nt: Conflict and grow th in the teenage years. New Y ork: Ba sic. Da dd s, M. R., At kin so n, E. T ur ne r, C., B lum s, G. J., & L e nd ic h, B ( 19 99 ). F a mil y conflict a nd child adjustment: Evidence f or cog nitive-contextual model of interg ener ational transmission. Journal of Family Psyc hology 13, 194-208. Dodg e, K. A., & Price, J. M. (1994). On the re lation betwee n social information-proc essing and socia lly competent be havior in ea rly school-ag ed children. Child Developme nt, 65, 1385-1397.

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54 VillanuevaAbra ham, S. (2004). Cultural Differences in parent-child conflict: An examination of mediating and moderating variables. Doctoral dissertation, University of F lorida, Ga inesville. Weber, H., Wiedig M., Fre y er, J., & Gr alher J (2004). Social a nx iety and ang er reg ulation. European Journal of Personality, 18 573-590.

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55 B I OG RA PHI CA L SKE TCH Gi lli a n N a ssa u r e c e ive d a B a c he lor of Ar ts d e g re e fr om S t. Joh n' s Co lle g e in An na po lis M D. She re c e ive d a Ma ste r o f S oc ia l Wor k d e g re e fr om F lor ida Sta te University She worke d as a f ree lance editor while pursuing g radua te studies. Her are as of intere st are soc ial policy social deve lopment, family conflict, a nd pare nt educa tion.


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EFFECTS OF MATERNAL AFFECT AND COMMUNICATION ON
MOTHER-DAUGHTER CONFLICT RESOLUTION















By

GILLIAN NASSAU


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2006















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to acknowledge the study participants who gave their time to this

research, the staff of the Girls' Health and Development Project at Teachers College at

Columbia University for their assistance in this research, and to the National Institute of

Child Health and Human Development (NICHD; HD32376) and the National Institute of

Mental Health (NIMH; MH56557) for their financial support of this project. I would like

to thank Julie Graber for her constant guidance and support, her excellent editorial

assistance, and for her superb mentoring. I would also like to thank Scott Miller for

bringing me into the developmental psychology program and for his continual

encouragement and support during my time in the program. I would like to express my

gratitude for the many helpful suggestions of my committee members, Ken Rice and Lise

Youngblade, and for the excellent advice and instruction so generously provided by

Sarah Lynn. I would especially like to thank my husband, Tom Auxter, and children,

Racine and Sebastian, for all their support and encouragement and for providing me with

the time and resources to further my education.















TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................. ii

LIST OF TABLES ............ .......................................... v

ABSTRACT ............ ............................................. vi

INTRODUCTION .............. ............................ 1

Conflict Affect, Rate, and Resolution ................ ................... 3
Maternal Affect and Communication ..................................... 6
Current Investigation ............... ............................. 11

METHOD ........... ............................................... 13

Participants ............. ............................... ............ 13
Procedure ............ ................................. ............ 13
M measures ............................................ ............ 16

RESULTS ................ ............................ .23

Analysis Plan ............ .......................................... 28
Predicting Solution Quality .......................................... 28
Solution Agreement ................ ............................ 31

SUMMARY ........... ..............................................33

Discussion ............ ............................................ 33
Future Directions and Implications ................ ................... 37

APPENDIX GIRLS AND BOYS HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
CONFLICT RESOLUTION CODEBOOK ....................... 40

Introduction ............ ........................................... 40
Child-Rearing Issues Form ................ ......................... 42
Solution Quality Scale ................................. ... .......... 43
Solution Agreement Scale ........................................... 47
Lecture/Moralize Scale .................................. ...........48


iii









R E FE R E N C E S ..................................................... 50

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .............................................. 55















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

1 Family background characteristics ................ ................... 23

2 Correlations among mothers' behavior ................................... 24

3 Means and standard deviations of mothers' affective characteristics and
outcome e variables ..................................... ............. 24

4 Correlations among independent and dependent measures and covariates ........ 27

5 Hierarchical regression model examining mothers' positive behavior as a
predictor of solution quality and agreement, controlling for covariates .......... 29

6 Hierarchical regression model examining mothers' negative behavior as a
predictor of solution quality and agreement, controlling for covariates .......... 29

7 Hierarchical regression model examining conflict frequency and intensity as
predictors of solution quality and agreement, controlling for covariates .......... 30

8 Hierarchical regression analyses examining mother and daughter solution quality
as predictors of solution agreement, controlling for covariates ................. 32















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School o
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

EFFECTS OF MATERNAL AFFECT AND COMMUNICATION ON
MOTHER-DAUGHTER CONFLICT RESOLUTION

By

Gillian Nassau

August 2006

Chair: Julia A. Graber
Major Department: Psychology

The study examined whether specific parenting behaviors were associated with

the quality of solutions generated during a mother-daughter conflict resolution task. A

sample of 132 mothers and their daughters completed surveys about conflict experiences

and participated in a videotaped discussion of two specific issues of disagreement.

Mothers' affective and communicative behaviors were not found to be associated with

girls' higher solution quality. However, higher solution quality scores among girls were

found to be associated with higher rates of solution agreement. In addition, the frequency

and intensity of conflict were found to be strong predictors of girls' solution quality and

solution agreement. Information about the influence of conflict frequency and intensity

on family problem-solving could be useful to those working in clinical and educational

settings with families.















INTRODUCTION

Family conflict has been shown to impact children's well-being, with higher

levels of conflict associated with higher internalizing and externalizing problems and

poorer peer relations (Clark & Armstead, 2000; Dadds, Atkinson, Turner, Blums, &

Lendich, 1999; Vandewater & Lansford, 1998). Much of the research on family conflict

has focused on distressed families and on the effects of marital conflict upon children,

while few studies have looked at conflict resolution between parents and children.

Moreover, social conflict studies have primarily looked at preschool age children in

school and laboratory settings (Shantz, 1987), with very little research conducted on

family relations in middle childhood. Research findings provide evidence that many of

the changes that occur in family dynamics in adolescence have their roots in early and

middle childhood family relations (Laursen & Collins, 1994; Steinberg, 1990). Thus,

understanding middle childhood family relations is essential to an understanding of

longer-term family dynamics. The current study expands upon this literature by

examining family conflict in a parent-child interaction during the middle-childhood

period, focusing specifically on mothers and daughters.

Research has explored the ways in which parenting practices impact family

relations throughout childhood. Parenting behaviors that are supportive and affirming,

such as being warm and responsive, have been shown to be associated with better

developmental outcomes for children and adolescents (McCabe & Clark, 1999;

Steinberg, Mounts, Lamborn, & Dornbusch, 1991). Negative parental affect, such as







2

parental hostility, has been found to be associated with higher levels of internalizing and

externalizing behavior in children (Conger, Ge, Elder, & Lorenz, 1994). Effective family

problem-solving has also been found to be associated with better peer relations and lower

levels of internalizing behaviors in children (Ashley & Tomasello, 1998; Coughlin, &

Vuchinich, 1996; Dadds, Atkinson, Turner, Blums, & Lendich, 1999; Dodge & Price,

1994). Research has found that the parenting practice of engaging in joint decision-

making with children was associated with increased academic achievement and

decreased drug use among adolescents (Brown, Mounts, Lambom, & Steinberg,

1993). Avoidant family conflict resolution behaviors, such as avoiding discussion,

leaving after disagreements, and becoming emotionally distant have been found to be

associated with higher levels of internalizing problems among adolescents (Dadds,

Atkinson, Turner, Blums, & Lendich, 1999). Forgatch (1989) found parental negative

emotions to be negatively associated with family problem-solving outcome among 4th,

7th, and 10th grade boys. Families' inability to resolve conflict was found to be correlated

with higher rates of verbal and physical aggression in 4th and 7th grade boys. In addition,

inhibiting negative feelings and staying focused on the problem solving were found to be

beneficial in attempting to resolve differences.

The present study examined family problem-solving during structured discussions

in the home. The study analyzes parenting behaviors to determine whether specific

affective and communicative behaviors are related to resolving conflict between mothers

and daughters. Determining which parenting behaviors are likely to impact positively

family problem-solving can improve family relations, lead to healthier individual

psychological functioning, help develop parenting skills, and be relevant to broader

social skills training for both adults and children.









Conflict Affect, Rate, and Resolution

Cognitive, emotional, and maturational changes at the end of middle childhood,

as well as the restructuring of parent-child roles during the transition to adolescence, may

lead to marked changes in rate and intensity of parent-child conflict. Traditionally,

researchers have argued that adolescence is a period of increased frequency of parent-

child conflict and is a reflection of children's changing emotional needs and cognitions

(Bandura, 1969; Hall, 1904). In the psychoanalytic model, the transition to adolescence is

marked by a child's need to challenge parents in an effort to separate from them and

create an independent identity. The model assumes that conflict is an inherent aspect of

the parent-child relationship as the child moves through adolescence. In the cognitive-

developmental model, cognitive reorganization takes place across middle childhood and

adolescence, affecting parent-child and peer relationships. Cognitive changes that occur

in adolescence, such as the ability to engage in systematic and complex reasoning and to

engage in greater critical thinking, may impact the parent-child relationship by

diminishing the intellectual gap (Paikoff & Brooks-Gunn, 1991). Underlying issues of

autonomy, independence, and equality may influence parent-adolescent conflict. In

addition, the frequency and intensity of conflict during this period may be related to

pubertal timing and to shifts in parent-child power dynamics (Graber & Brooks-Gunn,

1996; Steinberg, 1990).

Since most studies begin in early adolescence, it is difficult to determine whether

there is a change in conflict from prior levels, as it is possible that the observed changes

began at a prior stage of development. An advantage of the current study is that the

participants are recruited in the third grade, which provides an opportunity to examine

conflict prior to the onset of adolescence.









Recent research demonstrates a more complex picture of how parent-child

conflict changes across middle childhood and adolescence, with affect, or intensity, of

conflict showing a different pattern than that of rate, or frequency, of conflict. Laursen,

Coy, and Collins (1998) found that disagreements between parents and children become

less frequent but more unpleasant during adolescence. The researchers performed a series

of meta-analyses examining change in parent-child conflict rate and intensity across ages

10 to 22, and found conflict rate and affect varied as a function of age. They found that

parent-child affect became more heated during mid-adolescence and then decreased

slightly during late adolescence, but was at the lowest level during early adolescence. In

contrast, frequency of parent-child conflict appeared to decline across adolescence. This

is in opposition to the commonly held belief that conflict rate follows an inverted

U-shaped curvilinear path throughout adolescence (Montemayor, 1983). The decline

found in conflict rate may be a function of a decrease in parent-child interaction during

adolescence (Csikszentmihalyi & Laursen, 1984). Alterations in conflict affect could be

due to the emotional liability characteristic of adolescence as well as to issues of

independence and autonomy (Steinberg, 1990).

Researchers have found evidence that changes during adolescence are gradual

rather than abrupt, and are developmental transformations as opposed to periodic

disruptions (Laursen & Collins, 1994). Thus, rather than traditional models that suggest

that relationships change dramatically at adolescence, especially in terms of rate and

intensity of conflict, Laursen and Collins (1994) have proposed a social relational model.

The social relational model advocates continuity across development. The model

postulates a gradual incremental change in the parent-child relationship across childhood

and adolescence as opposed to a model of major shift or transformation during the time









of adolescence. Social relational theory emphasizes the social and situational context of

relationships. Changes in behavior are understood to be gradual as a consequence of the

stability inherent in close relationships (Laursen & Collins, 1994). Behavior is believed

to vary as a function of the closeness and voluntary nature of the relationship. The social

relational model draws from equity theory by analyzing power differentials and

interdependence as factors motivating behavior. A model of stability argues for stable

parenting behaviors across the entire childhood years; that is, behaviors may be

consistent in style even if specific practices are adjusted to be age appropriate.

Successful resolution of conflict often requires that an individual be able to take

into account the interests and perspectives of others. Piaget (1928, 1932) theorized that

conflict can be a means of reducing egocentrism by forcing an individual to take

another's perspective. Piaget posited that conflict is resolved, albeit temporarily, through

a process of assimilation and accommodation. He proposed that an individual may be

moved into a state of disequilibrium when presented with discrepant information. The

individual then attempts to restore equilibrium through the process of changing existent

sensorimotor and mental schemata to accommodate the new information. A similar

process can be observed when people enter into a dialogue in an attempt to resolve

conflict. When one party's position on an issue is challenged, an attempt may be made to

assimilate the information presented by the other party (i.e. process feedback), requiring

accommodation of the original position. Thus, arriving at an acceptable solution may

entail modifying one's view and being willing to move from one's position to

accommodate another's viewpoint (Scanzoni & Polonko, 1980; Smetana, Yau, &

Hanson, 1991). One needs to be able to state a position, provide support for that position,

listen to other positions, and incorporate the information in order to generate a









compromise and attain a mutually agreeable solution. This give and take in the

discussion of an issue of conflict can help clarify the nature of the problem and give rise

to viable solutions (Hepworth, Rooney, and Larsen, 1997).

However, power differentials could affect the nature of family conflict resolution.

Conflicts between parents and children have been found to result in angry affect,

assertions of parental power, and coercion on the part of parents (Adams & Laursen,

2001), which could impede conflict resolution. These conditions, in addition to the

nonegalitarian nature of parent-child relations, could result in a higher likelihood that

parents will generate solutions to issues of conflict than will children in the middle

childhood years.

This study examined parent-child conflict during middle childhood in order to

better understand effective family problem-solving. The study explored the effects of

mothers' behaviors on the quality of solutions generated and on the attainment of

solution agreement during a discussion of conflictual issues. In addition, conflict

frequency and intensity were examined in relation to solution agreement. The present

research aimed to further our knowledge of family dynamics at entry into adolescence

and to provide information about how parenting behaviors impact family conflict

resolution.

Maternal Affect and Communication

Parenting affect and communication have been found to be correlated with a host

of adjustment outcomes in children. Parental warmth and hostility have been found to be

associated with children's self-esteem, academic achievement, self-reliance, anxiety,

distress, peer acceptance, anger, and problem-solving ability. The present investigation









examined the following maternal affective and communication behaviors as expressed in

a conflict situation in relation to mother-daughter conflict resolution.

Warmth

Warmth entails such qualities as affirmation and affection and has been defined

as including acceptance, positive regard, responsiveness, and approval (Maccoby &

Martin, 1983; McCabe & Clark, 1999). Parental warmth has been found to be associated

with greater well-being (i.e. internalizing and externalizing behaviors, trouble with peers)

among girls (Vandewater & Lansford, 1998). Moreover, a warm family interaction style

has been found to be associated with good problem solving among adolescent girls, but

not boys (Reuter & Conger 1995). Parent-adolescent warmth was proposed to be a more

significant factor than conflict resolution strategies in family conflict with adolescent

girls (Rueter & Conger, 1995).

Adolescents exposed to low levels of parental warmth and high levels of conflict

were found to have poorer psychological functioning in such areas as social adjustment

and academic achievement (Fuhrman & Holmbeck, 1995). The present study examined

maternal warmth during a mother-daughter conflict-resolution task to see whether

maternal warmth as manifested during the interaction affects solution generation and

agreement.

Hostility/Aggression

Parental hostility has been found to be associated with higher levels of

internalizing and externalizing behavior in children (Conger, Ge, Elder, & Lorenz,

1994). Maternal anger has been found to lead to higher levels of problem behaviors in

girl children (Dreman, 2003). Depressive symptomatology involving hostility, as

displayed in high rates of irritability and aggression, can trigger the expression of anger









and distress on the part of children (Cummings, Zahn-Waxler, & Radke-Yarrow, 1981).

Aggressive family interaction style has been found to be associated with ineffective

problem solving (McColloch, Gilbert, & Johnson, 1990). The current study examined the

association between family problem-solving and hostile/aggressive maternal behavior

during a parent-child interaction.

Assertiveness

Assertiveness can be conceptualized as an individual's ability to openly put forth,

either verbally or nonverbally, feelings, desires, expectations, thoughts, individual rights,

opinions, perceptions, and beliefs (Hepworth, Rooney, & Larsen, 1997; Weber, Wiedig,

Freyer, & Gralher, 2004). Assertive verbal behaviors that express agreement or dissent

include describing, explaining, stating, declaring, questioning, critiquing, refusing,

requesting, encouraging/discouraging dialogue, and speaking in a firm and moderate tone

of voice Nonverbal assertive behaviors include facial expressions and body movements

or stances, such as relaxed posture, direct eye contact, appropriate facial expressions

(Hepworth, Rooney, & Larsen, 1997). Assertiveness can entail communicating in a way

that is respectful, calm, and firm (Mazur & Ebesu Hubbard, 2004). Assertiveness is

distinct form aggression, which involves violating the rights of others (Lange, &

Jakubowski, 1976; Hepworth, Rooney, & Larsen, 1997) and is identified with a different

set of behaviors (e.g., glaring, clenched fists and jaws, demeaning or loud tone of voice,

rigid stance). Weber, Wiedig, Freyer, and Gralher (2004) found assertiveness to be an

important social skill in managing conflict and in handling anger-provoking behavior.

The researchers found assertiveness to be negatively related to social anxiety,

submission, and rumination in adults, and to be positively associated with the use of

feedback and humor (operationalized as the use of humorous remarks or the









interpretation of a provocation as amusing). The ability to exercise one's rights by

speaking clearly, confidently, and honestly about one's own best interest, without

denying the rights of other individuals, is a social skill with the potential to protect and

develop the emotional needs of both agent and recipient. Assertiveness could be an

important aspect of effective communication and, as such, may be associated with more

effective family problem solving.

Dominance

Adams and Laursen (2001) proposed that the inherent power differential in

familial relations allows for dominant and coercive behaviors. The authors examined the

topic, resolution, and outcome of parent-child conflict and found that parent-child

conflicts resulted in neutral or angry affect, assertions of power, and win-lose

conclusions. The authors proposed that parent-child conflict is reflective of the

nonegalitarian, obligatory nature of the relationship, and is conditioned by the fact that

the chance of relationship dissolution is minimal. These behaviors are minimized in peer

relations for fear of dissolution of friendship. They found that familial relations were

marked by compulsory, unilateral rules and that parents engaged in coercion during

conflict. This raises the question of whether dominant behavior on the part of parents is

detrimental to the resolution of parent-child conflict.

Lecturing/Moralizing Behaviors

The current investigation also looked at how mothers' use of lecturing or

moralizing behaviors impacted both the quality of solutions generated during the

videotaped discussion and the likelihood of reaching agreement on a proposed solution.

Effective problem-solving involves the ability to present a problem without blaming or

attacking other participants. Overgeneralized, accusatory, or negative messages elicit









defensive rather than collaborative behavior from others (Hepworth, Rooney, & Larsen,

1997). Smetana and Asquith (1994) found that areas of conflict between parents and

children that were understood as involving moral (e.g., stealing, lying, hitting) and

conventional issues (e.g., chores, manners, cursing) were considered to be more

obligatory and to be under parental jurisdiction. It is thereby conceivable that when a

parent adopts a moralizing or lecturing tone, the child may respond to the issue under

discussion as though it were under parental jurisdiction. Thus high levels of moralizing

or lecturing behaviors may tend to interfere with discussion.

Contextual Factors

Contextual factors surrounding the family may alter the effects of specific

parental behaviors on child outcome and on conflict resolution. Parent educational level

has been found to be positively associated with the parental communication behaviors of

listening, explaining, and negotiating (Smetana, Crean, & Daddis, 2002). Smetana and

Gaines (1999) found that frequency of parent child conflict increased in families where

parents had less education and in single-parent households. Parent educational level and

marital status were found to be negatively associated with the frequency of parent-child

conflict among African American 11- to 14-year-olds (Smetana & Gaines, 1999).

Research has examined the effects of ethnicity upon parenting behavioral outcomes. In

studies using Western European samples, authoritarian parenting techniques have been

found to be associated with lower levels of parental warmth and parental perspective-

taking (Grusec, Rudy, & Martini, 1997). However, researchers have found that stricter

parental control and parental unilateral decision-making to be associated with lower

levels of deviance among low-income African American families and higher levels of

academic achievement among African Americans and Asians. In light of these findings,







11

researchers have proposed that stricter parenting may serve as a protective factor in high-

risk environments (Lamborn, Dorbusch, & Steinberg, 1996; Steinberg, 2001).

Acceptance of a stricter parenting style within a group may be a response to societal

factors such as racism and discrimination, and such acceptance may be viewed as an

effective coping strategy. Additionally the effects of parenting practices may be tempered

by other factors such as warmth, open communication, and support. One goal of this

study was to look at the process of conflict resolution using a diverse sample while

controlling for daughters' race/ethnicity, mothers' education and marital status, and

family income.

Current Investigation

The current investigation studied a sample of 132 third grade girls and their

mothers during a videotaped structured discussion session. The sample is both

socioeconomically and culturally diverse. Villanueva, Graber, and Brooks-Gunn (2006)

explored whether maternal affective and communicative behaviors were related to the

frequency and intensity of mother-daughter conflict, using the same participants as those

of the present study. Mothers' communication behaviors were found to be significantly

associated with mothers' report of conflict frequency. Also, significant correlations were

found for the frequency and intensity of conflict. The present research extended this work

by looking at mother-daughter conflict resolution and its association with maternal

affective and communicative behaviors. The study examined whether maternal affect and

communication impact the outcome of conflict resolution, specifically in terms of

solution quality and solution agreement. Both mothers' and daughters' responses were

analyzed in terms of solution quality. The present study investigated the following

hypotheses:









The first hypothesis looked at the quality of solutions generated, a construct

measuring participants' ability to solve problems constructively and negotiate solutions.

It was expected that higher quality solutions would be associated with greater maternal

warmth, assertiveness, and communication and with lower maternal hostility and

dominance.

A second goal of the study was to examine maternal behaviors that could impact

participants' ability to reach an agreed upon solution. The likelihood of arriving at an

agreed upon solution was predicted to increase as maternal warmth, assertiveness, and

communication increased and as maternal hostility and dominance decreased.

The third goal of the research was to explore the effects of specific

communicative behaviors on discussion outcome. It was expected that high levels of

parental lecturing and moralizing behaviors would be negatively associated with the

quality of solutions generated by the child and by the mother and with the likelihood of

arriving at an agreed upon solution.

A final goal of the study was to examine the relationship between the solutions

generated by the participants and the frequency and intensity of mother-daughter conflict.

It was expected that the quality of solutions generated by mothers and by daughters

would be negatively associated with the frequency and intensity of conflict.















METHOD

Participants

Participants were 132 third grade girls, ages 8 and 9 (M= 8.41, SD = .60), and

their mothers. The children were recruited from racially integrated New York City public

elementary schools. Based on mothers' report, 37.1% (49) of the girls were African

American, 46.2% (61) were Caucasian, and 16.7% (22) were Hispanic. The participants

were from the New York City area. The families were of lower to middle socioeconomic

status. The participants' demographic information reflected that of the neighborhoods

they were drawn from. The median family size was 4. Most of the mothers had

completed high school or college, or had obtained a general equivalency document

(GED); only 1.6% of the mothers had not completed high school and had not obtained a

GED. The mean family income was $34,500 and 61.8% of mothers were employed

outside the home.

Procedure

Participants were recruited through flyers distributed at schools. The study was

limited to those households in which the participating parent and child were both

competent in English as determined through the initial telephone contact. This was

considered necessary for the coding of the videotaped conflict discussion task. Parents

and children were interviewed in their homes. Families received $60 for participating in

the research and girls received a T-shirt at the conclusion of the home visit. Protocols for

the study were approved by the IRB at Teacher's College, Columbia University.







14

Secondary coding conducted at the University of Florida was approved by the IRB at the

University of Florida.

Home visit. A team of 2 data collectors visited participants in their home. They

explained the study procedures and obtained informed consent from both parent and

child. Written informed consent, including consent for videotaping, was obtained from

parent and child participants at the beginning of the first home visit. Parents were

interviewed and given a packet to complete containing family background

characteristics. Both the parent and child were then given a Conflict Issues Checklist

(Hetherington & Clingempeel, 1992) to complete. The checklist was designed to evaluate

the degree and frequency of parent-adolescent conflict, and to identify the issues about

which parents and children (ages 9 through 17) disagree or argue. Data collectors read

each item on the checklist to the child. The mother completed the checklist on her

own. The team of data collectors reviewed the completed checklists and chose 2 of the

items that were marked by both parent and child and which were the most emotionally

charged for use in the subsequent conflict task. If there were not 2 identical items in the

parent and child checklists, then the data collectors chose an item or items from each

participant's questionnaires.

The mother and child were then presented with a conflict task in which they were

asked to discuss the 2 selected issues of conflict. The participants were informed that the

conflicts identified were common issues of family conflict. Questions were provided to

them as an aid in guiding the discussion: "What is the problem?," "How does the

problem begin?," "Who becomes involved in the problem?," and "What might be done to

avoid this problem in the future?". Participants were instructed to answer all 4 questions

verbally and the data collectors then left the room prior to the beginning of the







15

discussion. Participants were given 7 minutes to discuss the 2 selected issues. The entire

conflict task was videotaped.

Scoring of parent scales and conflict task. The present study analyzed the

videotaped conflict task in terms of mothers' and daughters' solution quality, solution

agreement, and mothers' lecturing/moralizing behaviors. The solution quality and

solution agreement scales were from a conflict resolution codebook developed for this

study. The lecture/moralize scale was adapted from one developed by Melby et al.

(1998). Scores for solution agreement and solution quality were categorical, and scores

for lecture/moralize were on a Likert-type scale with a range of 0-2.

The maternal affective behavior scales of communication, listener

responsiveness, assertiveness, dominance, warmth, and hostility were from the Parent-

Child Conflict Task Videotape Codebook (Graber & Abraham, 2001) and were coded

previously (Villanueva-Abraham, 2004). This codebook was based on 2 previous coding

systems: The Iowa Family Interactions Rating Scale (Melby et al., 1998), used to

measure warmth, dominance, and listener responsiveness; and The Life Skills Training

coding system (Graber et al., 1999), used to measure communication, aggression, and

assertiveness. All of the constructs were measured on a 5-point Likert-type scale from 1

= not at all characteristic to 5 = highly characteristic.

Coders were trained to identify particular behavioral parental indicators of affect

for each construct being measured. Coders scored separate scales on practice videotaped

recordings of the parent-child conflict task. They trained until they reached a reliability

level of agreement with the standard of 85% and then began coding nonpractice

videotaped sessions. Reliability was checked on 20% of the tapes once the coders were

trained to criterion. Coders were retrained if they fell below the criterion and replaced if







16

they consistently were unable to maintain agreement levels. The same training procedure

was used in the prior coding of maternal affective behavior scales and in the coding of

the new scales used in the present investigation. Solution codes for the prior Likert-type

maternal affective behavior scales used within 1 as acceptable reliability at 85%. New

codes for this investigation were mainly categorical and exact match was used as

criterion.

Measures

Solution quality scale. Solution quality was assessed in terms of specific

elements of the conversation that were helpful in generating solutions. Solution quality

scores ranged from 0 to 5: 0 = no solution proposed: the participant did not present any

solution at all; 1 = failure to acknowledge problem: either the mother or the child did not

acknowledge the identified issue as a problem for them; 2 = inappropriate solution: the

solution proposed either does not address the identified problem, is not a serious solution

(e.g., is offered in a humorous, flippant, or sarcastic manner), is exploitive, or is clearly

not achievable; 3 = restatement of the problem: the solution offered is merely a

restatement of the problem (though not verbatim) and does not provide any additional

information on how to solve the problem (e.g., 'you need to keep your room clean');

4 = elaboration of the problem: the discussion provides additional information about the

problem identified, but does not provide an achievable solution ('your room is messy

because you don't put your laundry away'); 5 = achievable and specific solution: the

solution is possible to carry out and provides specific information about how to execute

the solution (e.g., cites specific behaviors, such as 'you could put one toy away before

taking out another one'). Coders were trained to classify each participant's responses into

1 of these 6 categories such that the highest category response given was the one scored.









For example, a child who initially gave a flippant solution, but then generated an

achievable and specific one, would receive a solution score of 5. Reliability of agreement

for mothers' solution quality was 89% across coders and across both issues of conflict,

with K ranging from .74 to .95. Reliability of agreement for child's solution quality was

90%, with K ranging from .62 to .95. As previously stated, solution quality responses

were skewed toward higher level responses. Though there is a fairly wide range of values

for the kappas reported here, traditionally kappas do not function well as measures of

reliability, when there is not a lot of variability in the observed responses. Kappas,

however, were all within the range considered substantial or near perfect (Landis &

Koch, 1977).

For the purposes of analysis, categorical responses were recorded. Solution quality

was divided into high- and low-level solutions: scores of 0-4 were grouped as low-level

solutions and a score of 5 as a high-level solution. Low-level solutions differed

qualitatively from high-level solutions in that they did not possess the characteristics of

being achievable and specific. Such solutions did not appear to provide a workable means

of solving the identified problem. High-level responses represented solutions that were

both achievable and specific. Both mother and daughter received a solution quality score

on each of 2 issues of conflict. A participant's 2 solution quality scores were then

combined to yield a sum score across both solutions, with a range of 0-2. Solution quality

was coded as missing when the participants skipped one of the 2 conflict issues (e.g.,

participants ended the discussion after discussing only one of the 2 issues presented, or

both participants declared the identified issue was not a problem for them). Calculations

employing imputed data using the series mean were performed as a way of handling

missing data. If 1 problem score was missing, that value was imputed and a sum score







18

was then calculated. If any of the participants had missing data across both of the conflict

issues selected for discussion, the participant was not included in the analysis.

Solution agreement scale. Solution agreement was scored for both issues of

conflict as a dichotomous variable (0 = no indication that both parties agree; 1 = verbal or

nonverbal agreement indicated). Solution agreement was characterized by both verbal

(e.g., "ok") and nonverbal behaviors (e.g., affirmative nod). A sum score across both

issues of conflict was created, ranging from 0 to 2. Reliability of agreement for this scale

was 88 %, with K ranging from .56 to 1.0.

Frequency and intensity of conflict. Each parent and child were provided with a

Conflict Issues Checklist (Hetherington & Clingempeel, 1992) and asked to mark which

of the conflicts they had previously engaged in together. The form consisted of 28 topics

(including 'other') about which parents and children often argue or disagree

(e.g., manners, school grades, keeping room tidy). They were asked to identify topics

(e.g., cleaning up, doing homework, allowance) on which they had disagreements. Child

and parent each indicated how heated, or intense, each conflict was. Each marked item

was scored on a 3-point scale in terms of intensity (0 = not heated, 1 = heated, 2 = very

heated). The heated variable was the mean of the heated scores for all the marked items.

Mother and child also indicated the frequency of each conflict (1 = monthly, 2 = weekly,

3 = daily). The frequency item was the sum of all the marked items. Mothers' scores

were analyzed separately from children's scores. These scores were analyzed in relation

to the quality of solutions generated during the videotaped discussion.

Mothers' behaviors. Six scales were used previously to code the videotaped

parent-adolescent interaction during the conflict-resolution task (Villaneuva Abraham,









Graber, & Brooks-Gunn, under review). In addition, the current study looked at an

additional scale measuring mothers' moralizing and lecturing behaviors.

Communication. The communication scale tapped the degree to which the

mother a) made herself clear by stating her own position clearly and concisely;

b) understood child's position; c) validated child by showing respect for or paraphrasing

child; and d) acknowledged child's viewpoint. Communication was scored on a 5-point

Likert-type scale ranging from 1 = not at all competent to 5 = highly competent.

Reliability of agreement was 94% for this scale, K = .92.

Listener responsiveness. The listener responsiveness scale measured the extent

to which the mother appeared to be attending to, showing an interest in, acknowledging,

and validating the child. Listener responsiveness was measured on a 5-point Likert-type

scale with responses ranging from 1 = not at all characteristic to 5 = highly characteristic.

Characteristic behaviors included making eye contact, nodding, and adjusting body

orientation toward the speaker. Other verbal behaviors included acknowledging, not

interrupting, validating, and conveying interest in what the other person verbalized.

Reliability of agreement for this scale was 100%, K = 1.0.

Dominance. The dominance scale measured the degree to which the mother

seemed to attempt to dominate, influence, or control the child and/or the situation

(1 = not at all characteristic to 5 = highly characteristic). Dominance can also be

indicated by an attempt to influence the behaviors, opinions, or points of view of another

person. Indicators include criticizing or interrupting the child, or changing or aborting the

subject of discussion. Reliability of agreement for this scale was 83%, K = .76.

Hostility/Aggression. The hostility/aggression scale measured intentional verbal,

nonverbal, and physical behavior that is potentially emotionally or physically harmful or









injurious to another individual. Indicators of hostility/aggression include hostile staring,

grimaces, snarls, smirks; hostile, sarcastic, dismissive, or irritable tone of voice; a raised

voice; defensive posture; and physical contact. Hostility/aggression was measured on a

5-point Likert-type scale (1 = not at all aggressive, 5 = highly aggressive). The reliability

score for this scale was 83% agreement, K = .74.

Assertiveness. The assertiveness scale measured the extent to which the mother

appeared to be acting in her own best interest, behaving openly and honestly, standing up

for herself, and exercising her own rights, while behaving thusly without denying the

rights of her child. Behavioral indices of assertiveness included speaking firmly, calmly,

composedly, decisively, and confidently, while making direct eye contact. Facial

expressions and body postures of seriousness, confidence, and directness (i.e., facing

other individual directly, standing straight) were also indicators of assertiveness.

Assertiveness was measured on a 5-point Likert-type scale (1 = not at all assertive,

5 = highly assertive). The reliability score for this scale was 100% agreement, K = 1.00.

Warmth. The warmth scale measured the degree to which the mother seemed to

be nice to, take an interest in, and enjoy being with her child. Warmth was scored as an

index of verbal (e.g., expressing nice and supportive statements) and nonverbal

communication (touching, kissing, displaying relaxed body postures, making eye

contact) as well as emotional expressions (smiling, nodding, laughing, appearing

happy). Warmth was measured on a 5-pont Likert-type scale from 1 = not at all

characteristic (virtually no examples of warmth and involvement with the child) to

5 = mainly characteristic (characterized as warm and involved). Reliability of agreement

was 94% for this scale, K = .93.









Lecturing and moralizing behaviors. The lecturing and moralizing scale

measured the degree to which a parent presents information in a manner that may be

preachy, intrusive, pushy, moralizing, critical, or judgmental. Behaviors included

speaking in a judgmental, critical, or rhetorical manner; interrupting child; and

monopolizing conversation. The item was scored across both issues of conflict. The

construct was measured on a 3-point Likert-type scale of 0 = not at all characteristic (did

not demonstrate any lecturing or moralizing behaviors), 1 = somewhat characteristic

(sometimes displayed lecturing or moralizing behaviors that are brief, infrequent, and of

low intensity), and 2 = mainly characteristic (usually displayed lecturing or moralizing

behaviors, which may be intense and prolonged). In order to receive a score of 2, the

mother must have engaged in behaviors that impeded the conversation. Reliability of

agreement for this scale was 93%, with K ranging from .79 to .86.

Family background characteristics. During the home visit, mothers completed

an interview in which information was obtained about family demographic

characteristics. The analyses controlled for demographic information about mothers'

education, family income, mothers' marital status, and child's race/ethnicity. Dummy

codes were used to categorize demographic data. Mothers' education was scored as either

1 (education beyond high school or GED) or 0 (high school diploma, GED, or less).

Race/ethnicity was categorized as 1 for White or as 0 for African-American or Latina.

Mothers' marital status was scored as 1 for married (including cohabiting couples) or 0

for all else (including not married, single, divorced, and widowed). Poverty level income

was determined from mothers' reports of family income and household size and then

compared to the national poverty threshold for 1996. Family income was collapsed into 3

categories: above poverty level, below poverty level, and missing. For family income, 2







22

dummy-coded variables were used, with the omitted group being below poverty level.

Missing data on family income accounted for 20% of the sample.















RESULTS

Descriptive statistics providing the means and standard deviations for family

background characteristics are reported in Table 1. Approximately 46% of girls were

white. While 64% of mothers had an education level beyond that of high school, 36%

completed high school, or had a GED. Nearly 54% of mothers were married. The

majority of families were above the poverty level, but 22% of families had incomes

below the poverty level, and 20.4% had missing information on income.

Table 1. Family background characteristics
Variable % n
Daughters' race/ethnicity
White 46.2% 61
Black 37.1% 49
Latina 16.7% 22
Family income
Below poverty 22.0% 29
Above poverty 57.6% 76
Missing 20.4% 27
Mothers' education
Beyond high school 63.6% 84
High school/GED or less 36.4% 48
Mothers' marital status
Married 53.8% 71
Living with someone 4.5% 06
Other
Single 19.7% 26
Separated/divorced 18.9% 25
Widowed 3.0% 04

Preliminary analyses revealed strong associations (i.e., r ranging from .46 to .67)

among several of the mother behaviors scored in the interaction task (Table 2).

Lecture/moralize was significantly correlated with hostility, r = .51,p < .01, and with







24

dominance, r = .53, p < .01. Hence, ratings of mothers' behaviors were divided into two

composite groups consisting of mothers' positive and negative behaviors. Maternal

warmth, communication, and assertiveness were summed to yield mothers' positive

behaviors, with M= 13.49, SD = 3.06, and a = .85 (Table 3). Lecture/moralize was

significantly correlated with hostility, r = .01, p < .01, and dominance, r = .53, p < .01.

Maternal dominance, hostility, and lecturing and moralizing behavior were summed to

yield mothers' negative behaviors, with M = 4.08, SD = 2.34, and a = .75.

Table 2. Correlations among mothers' behavior
Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 Communication .67** .52** .66** -.21* -.17* -.18*
2 Listener responsiveness .66* .54* -.53* -.52 -.42**
3 Warmth .49** -.46** -.38** -.26**
4 Assertiveness -.28** -.09 -.20*
5 Hostility .61** .51**
6 Dominance .53**
7 Lecture/Moralize
8 M 3.68 3.67 2.98 3.17 1.36 2.39 .33
9 SD .79 .91 1.07 .91 .89 1.25 .61
* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

Table 3. Means and standard deviations of mothers' affective characteristics and
outcome variables
M SD
Mothers' affective characteristics
Mothers' positive behaviors 13.49 (3.06)
Mothers' negative behaviors 4.08 (2.34)
Outcome variables
Mothers' solution quality 1.23 (0.74)
Child's solution quality .89 (0.75)
Solution agreement 1.30 (0.72)

The distribution of mothers' solution quality scores, ranging from 0-5, was

skewed toward the upper limit. Mothers' solution quality scores had the following

distribution: 1% of responses received a score of 0 for failure to generate a solution to

problem presented, 1% received a score of 1 for failure to acknowledge identified issue







25

as a problem, 4% received a score of 3 for mere restatement of problem, 34% received a

score of 4 for elaboration upon problem, and 60% received a score of 5 for generation of

an achievable and specific solution to problem. The distribution of child's solution

quality scores, ranging from 0-5, was also highly skewed toward higher scores: 6% of

responses received a score of 0 for failure to generate a solution to problem presented,

4% received a score of 1 for failure to acknowledge identified issue as a problem,

1% received a score of 2 for generation of an inappropriate solution, 5% received a score

of 3 for mere restatement of problem, 38% received a score of 4 for elaboration upon

problem, and 46% of responses received a score of 5 for generation of an achievable and

specific solution to problem.

When solution quality scores were collapsed into low- and high-level responses,

the scores were more evenly distributed. An achievable and specific solution was given a

score of 1, while all other solutions received a score of 0. The distribution of mother and

child's solution quality scores ranged from 0, representing low-level responses on both

issues discussed (e.g., inappropriate solution, elaboration upon problem), to a score of 2,

representing the generation of achievable and specific solutions to both issues discussed.

A score of 1 was given when an achievable and specific solution was generated for only

1 of the 2 issues discussed. Approximately 22% of mothers' solution quality responses

received a score of 0, 35% received a score of 1, and 43% received a score of 2.

Approximately 37% of child's solution quality responses received a score of 0, 34%

received a score of 1, and 29% received a score of 2. Nearly 18% of solution agreement

responses received a score of 0, 33.3% received a score of 1, and 49% received a score

of 2. Pearson chi-square tests were also conducted to test independence of outcome

variables. The tests provided support for the independence of mothers' and child's







26

solution quality scores, X2 (4, N=105) = 3.31, p = .51. The tests also provided support for

the independence of mothers' solution quality scores and solution agreement scores,

X2 (4, N=111) = 4.30, p = .37. The tests did not provide support for the independence of

child's solution quality and solution agreement, X2 (4, N =105) = 16.14, p = .003.

Preliminary analyses of mothers' behaviors during the conflict task yielded

correlations that were weak to moderate in size. Correlations among variables are

displayed in Table 4. A weak significant association was found between child's solution

quality and mothers' positive behaviors, r = .23, p < .01, as predicted by the first

hypothesis. Child's solution quality was also significantly correlated with solution

agreement, r = .29, p < .05. Mothers' solution quality, however, was not found to be

significantly associated with mothers' composite behaviors. Solution agreement was

found to be positively associated with mothers' positive behaviors, r = .20,p < .05, as

predicted, and was also found to be negatively associated with mothers' reports of

conflict frequency and intensity, r = -.27,p < .01 and r = -.26,p < .01, respectively.

Although both correlations were significant, their size indicated weak associations

(Landis & Koch, 1977). Mothers' negative behaviors were positively associated with

child and mothers' conflict frequency, r = .30,p < .01 and r = .21,p < .05, respectively.

Among predictor and outcome variables, the only significant correlations whose size

indicated a moderate association were the correlations among frequency and intensity of

conflict, ranging from .20 to .42, p < .05, and the correlation between mothers' positive

and negative behaviors, r = -.45, p < .01. Among covariates, the size of the correlations

that were significant indicated weak associations. The only significant moderate

associations were that of child's being white and mother being married, r = .46, p < .01;

and of being below poverty and mother being married, r = -.35,p < .01.












Table 4. Correlations among independent and dependent measures and covariates


Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
1 Mothers' solution quality .05 .20* .09 .15 .07 .01 .16 -.04 .15 -.02 .03 -.06 -.08
2 Child's solution quality .29** .23** -.18* .01 -.18* .17 -.01 .13 .17 .19* -.07 -.15
3 Solution agreement .20* -.10 -.05 -.27** .05 -.26** .01 .17 .16 -.08 -.02
4 Mothers' positive behaviors -.45** -.22* -.21* -.17 -.25** .23** .24** .20* -.09- -.23**
5 Mothers' negative behaviors .19* .09 .30** .21* -.07 -.15 -.18* -.01 .06
6 Child's conflict intensity .20* .42** .21* -.01 -.14 -.14 .22** .14
7 Mothers' conflict intensity .23** .39** .02 -.07 -.20* -.02 .11
8 Child's conflict frequency .20* -.02 .01 .06 .05 .04
9 Mothers' conflict frequency .06 -.08 -.10 -.02 -.01
10 Mothers' education .13 .12 -.28** -.05
11 Child's race .46** -.24** -.13
12 Marital status -.35** -.10
13 Income: Below poverty -.27**
14 Income: Missing
* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).









Analysis Plan

A series of hierarchical regression analyses were conducted to examine the effects

of mothers' behaviors, conflict frequency, and conflict intensity upon solution quality

and agreement, while controlling for the demographic variables of mothers' education,

marital status, child's race, and family income. Demographic information entered on step

1 included mothers' education, family income, mothers' marital status, and child's

race/ethnicity. A hierarchical regression model was run with the predictor of mothers'

composite positive behaviors (consisting of warmth, assertiveness, and communication)

entered in step 2. Separate hierarchical regression analyses were conducted using a

composite of mothers' negative behaviors (hostility, dominance, lecture/moralize) in

step 2.

Predicting Solution Quality

The first model (as described above) examined mothers' positive behavior as a

predictor of mothers' solution quality, after accounting for covariates (Table 5). The

model was not significant for mothers' positive behaviors as a predictor of mothers'

solution quality, F (6, 125) = .75, p = .61. There was a trend for an association of

mothers' positive behaviors with child's solution quality, F (6, 125) = 2.04, p = .07 for

the overall model. In general, the evidence did not support the research hypothesis that

mothers' behaviors are predictive of solution quality. Hierarchical multiple regression

analyses were run with the same covariates entered on step 1 and with mothers' negative

behaviors entered in step 2 as a predictor of solution quality (Table 6). The model was

not significant for mothers' negative behaviors as a predictor of mothers' solution

quality, F (6, 125) = 1.30, p = .262. The overall relationship of mothers' negative

behaviors as a predictor of child's solution quality was not significant, F (6, 125) = 1.98,

p = .07, and total R2 = .09. The evidence did not support the research hypothesis that









mothers' behaviors are predictive of mothers' solution quality. The findings provided

some support for the hypotheses that higher rates of mothers' positive behaviors would

be associated with higher rates of child's solution quality, and that lower rates of

mothers' negative behaviors would be associated with lower rates of child's solution

quality.

Table 5. Hierarchical regression model examining mothers' positive behavior as a
predictor of solution quality and agreement, controlling for covariates
Mothers' solution Child's solution
quality quality Solution agreement
Step 1
Mothers' education .19 (.14) .10 (.14) -.09 (.14)
Child's race/ethnicity -.11 (.15) .09 (.15) .14 (.14)
Marital status .02 (.15) .18 (.15) .11 (.15)
Below poverty -.10(.19) -.01 (.18) -.03 (.18)
Missing income -.15 (.18) -.18 (.18) .06 (.17)
A R2 .03 .07 .04
Step 2
Mothers' positive behaviors .01 (.02) .04 (.02) .04 (.02)t
A R2 .01 .02 .03
Final R2 .04 .09 .07
Final model F (6, 125)= F (6, 125)= F (6, 125)=
F .75 2.04t 1.46
Note. Unstandardized coefficients and standard errors are shown.
fp <.10

Table 6. Hierarchical regression model examining mothers' negative behavior as a
predictor of solution quality and agreement, controlling for covariates
Mothers' solution Child's solution Solution
quality quality agreement
Step 1
Mothers' education .22 ) .13 .13 (.14) -.05 (.14)
Child's race/ethnicity -.08 (.15) .10 (.15) .17 (.14)
Marital status .07 (.15) .16 (.16) .12 (.15)
Below poverty -.07 (.18) -.05 (.18) -.06 (.18)
Missing income -.17 (.17) -.24 (.17) -.01 (.17)
A R2 .03 .07 .03
Step 2
Mothers' negative behaviors .05 (.03)t -.04 (.03) -.02 (.03)
A R2 .03t .02 .01
Final R2 .06 .09 .04
Final model F (6, 125)= F (6, 125)= F (6, 125)=
F 1.30 1.98' 0.91
Note. Unstandardized coefficients and standard errors are shown.
tp <.10









Hierarchical regression analyses were also run on the frequency and intensity of

conflict as predictors of solution quality. The predictors of conflict frequency as reported

by mother, conflict intensity as reported by mother, conflict frequency as reported by

child, and conflict intensity as reported by child were entered in step 2 of the model, and

the aforementioned covariates were entered in step 1. The overall model was not

significant for mothers' solution quality, F (9, 122) = 1.01, p = .44. However, the overall

model was significant for both mother and child's reports of frequency and intensity of

conflict as predictors of child's solution quality, F (9, 122) = 2.07, p = .04, and total R2 =

.13 (Table 7).

Table 7. Hierarchical regression model examining conflict frequency and intensity as
predictors of solution quality and agreement, controlling for covariates
Mothers' Child's Solution
solution quality solution quality agreement
Step 1
Mothers' education .21 (.14) .14 (.14) -.02 (.13)
Child's race/ethnicity -.11 (.15) .12 (.15) .17 (.14)
Marital status -.01 (.16) .10 (.16) .01 (.15)
Below poverty -.17 (.19) -.08 (.19) -.12 (.18)
Missing income -.22 (.18) -.23 (.17) -.02 (.17)
A R2 .03 .07 .04
Step 2
Child's report of conflict intensity .07 (.16) -.01 (.16) .02 (.15)
Mothers' report of conflict intensity .01 (.23) -.50 (.23)* -.49 (.22)*
Child's report of conflict frequency .01 (.01) .02 (.01)* .01 (.01)
Mothers' report of conflict
frequency -.01 (.01) .01 (.01) -.02 (.01)*
A R2 .04 .06t .10**
Final R2 .07 .13 .14
Final model F (9, 122)= F (9, 122)= F (9, 122)=
F 1.01 2.07* 2.24*
Note. Unstandardized coefficients and standard errors are shown.
tp< .10, tp <.10, *p <.05, **p <.01

There was a main effect for mothers' report of conflict intensity, t 122 = -2.20, p = .03, and

for child's report of conflict frequency, t 122 = 2.22, p = .03; however, the A in R2 for this









step was .06, p < .10. The current study predicted that higher rates of frequency and

intensity of conflict, as assessed by both mother and child, would be associated with

lower rates of mother and child's solution quality and solution agreement. Analyses

supported the expected results for some, but not all, of the indicators of conflict. The

findings provided support for the study's hypothesis that higher rates of conflict intensity,

as reported by the mother, would be associated with lower rates of child's solution

quality. However, higher rates of conflict frequency, as assessed by the child, were found

to be associated with higher rates of child's solution quality. The findings did not provide

support of an association between conflict frequency and intensity and mothers' solution

quality. Effect size was fairly small and varied from .03 to .07 for covariates and from

.04 to .11 for predictors.

Solution Agreement

Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted for mothers' positive

behaviors as predictive of solution agreement, while controlling for covariates. The

overall model was not significant, F (6, 125) = 1.46, p = .06, and total R2 = .07 (Table 5).

Hierarchical regression analyses were also conducted for mothers' negative behaviors as

predictive of solution agreement, but the model was not significant, F (6, 125) = .91,

p = .49 (Table 6). Though the findings provided some support for the research hypothesis

that higher rates of mothers' positive behaviors would be associated with higher rates of

solution agreement, the analyses did not provide evidence for the hypothesis that

mothers' negative behaviors would be predictive of solution agreement. However,

mothers' solution quality and child's solution quality were found to be strong predictors

of solution agreement. The overall model was significant, F (7, 124) = 2.99, p = .006, and

total R2 = .15, with main effects for both mothers' solution quality, t 124 = 2.35, p = .021,









and child's solution quality, t 124 = 3.12, p = .002. The A in R2 for this step was .11,

p < .01, with 2 significant predictors. Though not a research hypothesis of the present

study, higher rates of agreement were found to be associated with higher rates of solution

quality (Table 8).

Table 8. Hierarchical regression analyses examining mother and daughter solution
quality as predictors of solution agreement, controlling for covariates
Solution agreement
Step 1
Mothers' education -.11 (.13)
Child's race/ethnicity .17 (.14)
Marital status .08 (.14)
Below poverty -.02 (.17)
Missing income .09 (.16)
R2 .04
Step 2
Mothers' solution quality .19 (.08)*
Child's solution quality .26 (.08)**
R2 .11"*
Final R2 .15
Final model F (7, 124)=
F 2.99**
Note. Unstandardized coefficients and standard errors are shown.
*p <.05, **p <.01

A hierarchical regression model was run with frequency and intensity of conflict,

as reported by both mother and child, as predictors of solution agreement (Table 7). The

overall model was significant, F (9, 122) = 2.24,p = .02, and total R2 = .14, with main

effects for maternal report of both conflict frequency and intensity, t 122 = -2.11, p = .04,

and t 122 = -2.24,p = .03, respectively. A significant negative association was found

between mothers' assessment of conflict frequency and intensity and arriving at an

agreed upon solution, as was predicted, with AR2 = .10, p < .01 for step 2 in the model.

That is, when mothers reported more conflict, the dyad was less likely to agree to a

solution in the discussion task.















SUMMARY

Discussion

Higher levels of family conflict have been found to be associated with poorer

outcomes in children (Dadds, Atkinson, Turner, Blums, & Lendich, 1999; Reuter &

Conger, 1995; Vandewater & Lansford, 1998). The primary purpose of the current study

was to examine the problem-solving process between mothers and daughters in an

attempt to better understand how specific parental behaviors impact successful resolution

of conflict. The present research provided some limited support for mothers' affective

and communicative behaviors being predictive of child's solution quality. Higher rates of

mothers' behaviors were not found to be associated with higher rates of solution

agreement, as was predicted. However, mother and child's solution quality were found to

be strong predictors of solution agreement. As expected, greater conflict intensity, as

reported by the mother, was found to be associated with poorer child solution quality.

Contrary to what was expected, greater conflict frequency, as reported by the child, was

found to be associated with better child solution quality. In addition, mothers' reports of

conflict frequency and intensity were found to be negatively associated with solution

agreement. The current investigation provided evidence that how often disagreements

occur, and how heated they become, is connected to the problem-solving process.

A family's ability to resolve conflict has been shown to have many positive

outcomes for children. Children of families that engage in effective conflict resolution

behaviors and in joint decision-making have been found to display lower levels of









internalizing problems, deviant behavior, and drug use; demonstrate higher levels of

academic achievement; and have better peer relations (Ashley, & Tomasello, 1998;

Brown, Mounts, Lamborn, & Steinberg, 1993; Coughlin, & Vuchinich, 1996; Dadds,

Atkinson, Turner, Blums, & Lendich, 1999; Dodge & Price, 1994). In contrast, families'

inability to resolve conflict has been found to be correlated with higher rates of verbal

and physical aggression in boys (Forgatch, 1989). However, few studies have looked at

conflict resolution between parents and children in the middle childhood period and in

the home setting.

The present research looked at specific affective and communicative parenting

behaviors, as well as reports of conflict in relation to how mothers and daughters resolve

conflict. Mothers' evaluation of how heated disagreements were with daughter was found

to be a significant predictor of child's solution quality. Specifically, higher rates of

conflict intensity, as assessed by mother, were associated with lower solution quality

scores for children. This provides evidence that conflict intensity has a negative impact

on conflict resolution. This is in keeping with research findings that parental anger and

hostility are associated with ineffective family problem solving (Conger, Ge, Elder, &

Lorenz, 1994; McCulloch, Gilbert, & Johnson, 1990). Contrary to what was predicted,

daughters' evaluation of how often arguments occur with their mothers was found to be

associated with higher solution quality scores for daughters. This may be due to

daughters having greater experience in debating with their mothers over issues that are

problematic to them. Research has found that conflict with mother and siblings may

influence children's social development (Dunn, Brown, Slomlowski, Tesla, &

Youngblade, 1991). Mother and siblings' use of perspective-taking in arguments was









found to be positively associated with child's use of compromise in resolving conflicts

with friends (Dunn & Herrera, 1997).

A significant negative association was found between mothers' assessment of

conflict frequency and intensity and arriving at an agreed upon solution, as was

predicted. This provides evidence that a family's ability to resolve conflict is hampered

by higher frequency and intensity of conflict. How often disagreements occur and how

heated they become appears to impact the problem-solving process. The results from this

study could serve as evidence that the more often families argue, and the more heated the

arguments become, the less likely family members are to reach agreement on a possible

solution.

However, solution quality was a significant predictor of solution agreement.

Higher quality solutions provide more information about the problem under discussion

and may offer a workable plan of action for resolving the problem. It is not surprising

that with higher quality solutions, agreement was more often reached. It may be that

mothers are unlikely to agree to low-level solutions offered by daughters, solutions that

are inappropriate, exploitive, unrelated to the problem at hand, or are merely a

restatement of the problem.

Parental expression of negative emotions, such as hostility and dominance, has

been found to be negatively associated with family problem-solving outcome (Forgatch,

1989). Parental warmth has been shown to be related to a variety of positive outcomes in

children, particularly among girls. The parenting behaviors of inhibiting negative feelings

and remaining focused on the problem-solving process have been found to be beneficial

in resolving differences (Forgatch, 1989). The present study examined mothers'

behaviors in relation to the quality of solutions generated during a discussion task and









whether agreement on a solution was reached. Mothers' affective and communicative

behaviors did not appear to impact solution quality, contrary to what was predicted.

There are several limitations to the present study. The sample was drawn from

urban New York areas, and so may not be representative of other urban, rural, or

suburban areas throughout the country. In addition, approximately 20% of the sample did

not provide information on income. Though this response rate is typical, and refusal to

report income was included in the analyses, it is not clear how the missing data may have

affected the findings. Effect size varied from .03 to .07 for covariates and from .003 to

.11 for predictors, with total R2 between .09 and .15. While not large, such effect sizes are

not unusual in psychosocial studies. The present study explored the effects of mothers'

behaviors on conflict resolution, but did not examine the impact of fathers' and of

children's behaviors on family conflict. Since the reactions and restrictions of both

parents impact family conflict, father-child interaction is a critical component of

understanding the ways in which families navigate conflict. Another limitation is that the

study utilized a structured discussion format of only 7 minutes in duration, as opposed to

naturalistic observation in the home, and so may fail to capture much of what might

occur in spontaneous conversation. The time constraint could have restricted the

discussion, resulting in a limited evaluation of the problem. Had more time been allotted,

participants might have explored and integrated other issues and solutions relevant to the

problem discussed, and possibly have arrived at better thought out, higher quality

solutions. A greater discussion time allotment could have resulted in the generation of

multiple high quality solutions, providing a range of potentially helpful solutions, which

could have facilitated children in producing high quality solutions. The structured format

of 4 guiding questions could have narrowed the discussion, discouraged exploration of









other important questions, and directed conversation toward a limited range of potential

solutions. A less directive approach, with greater discussion time provided, might have

captured more of what actually occurs in family discussion of contentious topics.

Future Directions and Implications

Since most studies of family conflict focus on early childhood and adolescence, it

is difficult to determine whether the changes occurring in family conflict during

adolescence have precursors in the middle childhood period. The current study speaks to

this gap in the literature by examining parent-child conflict before the entry into

adolescence. Alterations in the parent-child relationship across middle childhood and

adolescence may reflect small, gradual, incremental changes as opposed to large, major

disruptions occurring with the advent of the stormy teenage years. Of further interest is

research that looks at changes in family dynamics across age and gender. Specific

parenting behaviors could have a different impact at different stages of childhood. In

addition, certain behaviors on the part of children may be more useful in handling

conflict at certain developmental stages.

The issues over which parents and children disagree may also vary by age and

gender. Steinberg (1990) has suggested that there may be different developmental

themes, such as autonomy and independence, underlying the issues about which families

disagree. Smetana and Asquith (1994) proposed that there are changes across middle

childhood and adolescence in the interpretation of moral issues, with older children being

more likely to judge issues of morality and convention as being under one's own personal

jurisdiction. Such findings warrant further study of the types of issues over which

families disagree across childhood.







38

Also of interest is the association between mental health and family conflict. Are

parental affective characteristics and problem-solving behaviors associated with

internalizing problems in children? Are there specific communicative and problem-

solving behaviors on the part of children that are associated with better mental health in

children? The present study sought to provide information that could be relevant to

individuals working in a therapeutic or educational capacity with families. Though the

current study did not directly assess adjustment outcomes, prior studies have found that

parenting behaviors impact children's drug use, academic achievement, peer relations,

and negotiation of conflict. Future work could include an examination of conflict

resolution in relation to child outcome. A better understanding of the effects of parenting

behaviors can improve family relations and lead to healthier psychosocial functioning for

both parents and children.

The present research findings regarding conflict frequency and intensity are

relevant to people working with families. Individuals working with families should

perhaps refrain from minimizing the effects of family conflict, and from dismissing

family conflict in the preteen and teenage years as normative and harmless. The

frequency and intensity of conflict may serve as indices for family functioning. The

findings from this study could serve as evidence that the more often families argue, and

the more heated the arguments become, the less likely family members are to reach

agreement on a possible solution.

Many of the changes in family dynamics that take place in adolescence have

origins in early and middle childhood family relations. Research on mother-daughter

conflict-resolution can contribute to a better understanding of girl's development and of

parent-child relations. The present study identified some parenting behaviors beneficial







39

to discussing and resolving conflict with girls in middle childhood. Learning better ways

to communicate and interact with children at this developmental stage could help

families more effectively meet the changing needs of their children and better deal with

the upcoming challenges of adolescence.















APPENDIX
GIRLS AND BOYS HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
CONFLICT RESOLUTION CODEBOOK

Developed by
Gillian Nassau
Julia A. Graber, Ph.D.
February 01, 2005

This project was supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health

and Human Development (NICHD; HD32376) and the National Institute of Mental

Health (NIMH; MH56557) as well as support from the Department of Psychology,

University of Florida.

Introduction

The parent and child were separately presented a 28-item checklist of issues about

which parents and children often disagree. The parent and child each identified issues

that caused disagreement or conflict in their relationship. Two of the issues that the dyad

identified were selected for discussion.

The participants were provided with a list of 4 leading statements to be used for

guiding the discussion: "What is the problem "; "How does the problem begin "; "Who

becomes involved in the problem "; "What might be done to avoid this problem in the

future. The participants were then given 5-7 minutes for discussion of the 2 issues of

disagreement.

The discussion was videotaped. This manual focuses on coding the type of

problem discussed, solution quality, and parent's lecturing or moralizing behaviors. For







41

every videotaped parent-child interaction, codes were created for each of the 2 problems

discussed. The child-rearing issues list was used to code the type ofproblem discussed.

The list included 28 problematic issues, each of which was assigned an arbitrary code

(e.g., the problem of 'making too much noise at home' was coded '17'). A conflict

resolution scale was used to assess the solution quality of the series of solutions

generated by each participant. Solution quality was scored separately for parent and

child solutions and separately for each topic discussed. An additional scale was used to

code the degree of parent's lecturing or moralizing behaviors during the entirety of the

interaction.

The codes for Solution Quality and Lecture/Moralize were adapted from the Iowa

Family Interactions Rating scales (Melby et al., 1998) by Nassau and Graber. Content of

the scales was adapted based on the protocol and responses of participants in the present

investigation as well as for conceptual reasons.

Topic of Problem

As indicated, participants were given 2 problems to discuss based on a standard

checklist of problems that commonly occur between parents and children or adolescents.

Participants may or may not discuss both of the problems given and sometimes discuss

other issues. Use the Child-Rearing Issues Form on the next page to code the nature of

the problem that is discussed for each of the two topics.

Coding Rules

i. If participants acknowledge and discuss more than 2 topics, only code the first 2.
ii. If no topics were discussed, code this variable as "0" for both variables.
iii. If only one topic was discussed before the interaction ended, code the first topic
using the Child-Rearing Issues Form and code the second topic as "99."









Child-Rearing Issues Form


Problem # Description


1 Manners
2 Telephone calls
3 Behavior towards (step) brothers and sisters
4 Behavior towards mother
5 Behavior towards (other partner)
6 Omit
7 Getting up in the morning
8 Getting to school on time
9 Choice of reading material, music, art, etc.
10 T.V., how much he/she watches, which shows, etc.
11 Cursing or swearing
12 Personal appearance (choice of clothes, haircuts, etc.)
13 Household routines (bedtimes, meal times, regular times for chores,
studying, etc.)
14 Homework (completing, quality of, etc.)
15 School grades
16 Behavior at school
17 Making too much noise at home (talking too loudly, yelling, etc.)
18 Playing the radio, stereo, T.V. too loudly
19 Taking care of tapes/CDs, games, bikes, pets, etc.
20 How free time is spent
21 Curfew (coming home on time)
22 Letting you know where he/she is and what he/she is doing when away from
home
23 Keeping room tidy or clean

24 Bothering you and your spouse/significant other when you want to be alone
25 Bothering siblings when they want to be alone
26 Going to church, synagogue, mosque, etc.
27 Type of social activities that he/she is involved in (dances, movies, going to
mall, etc.)
28 Can you think of another area of disagreement that we did not talk about?
PLEASE SPECIFY.









Solution Quality Scale

Conflict resolution is the process of generating one or more mutually agreeable

solutions. A solution is an answer to a problem. The process of coming to a mutually

agreeable solution may involve multiple component processes, including the restatement

of the problem (articulation of the problem in different words) and elaboration of the

problem (addition of information about the problem), as well as the development of one

or more solutions. Generating possible solutions can provide choices and can be helpful

in shaping an acceptable solution. This scale is used to assess solution quality. The

assessment of solution quality entails looking at elements of the conversation that lead to

a mutually agreeable solution. This scale is used to categorize the nature of the highest

quality solution. The following factors are important in determining solution quality:

* Restatement of the problem
Participants may restate the problem in different words but without providing any
additional information. Such restatements need not occur in the process of generating
a solution, but when they do occur, they may help direct the discussion toward a
solution. Restatement alone does not produce a solution. If the process of generating
a solution does not advance beyond a restatement of the problem, then the solution
produced (which is a restatement of the problem) represents low to intermediate
levels of overall solution quality.

* Elaboration of the problem
Participants may elaborate by providing additional information about the problem
rather than just restating the problem. Elaborating statements need not occur in the
process of generating a solution, but when they do occur, they may help direct the
discussion toward a solution. If the process of generating a solution does not advance
beyond elaboration, the discussion represents intermediate levels of overall solution
quality.

* Achievable and beneficial solution
An achievable solution is one that is capable of being accomplished or of being
performed successfully. Synonyms for achievable are attainable, feasible, realizable,
viable, possible, reachable, doable, practical, and workable. An achievable solution
represents a high level of solution quality. A beneficial solution is one that is
helpful, useful, valuable, advantageous, or of assistance. A proposed solution may or
may not be achievable. A proposed solution may or may not be potentially
beneficial. A potentially beneficial solution represents a high level of solution quality.









* Plan of action
A plan of action describes how to solve the problem. A plan of action includes both
a solution and an example specifying how to achieve that solution. A plan of action
always provides specific information (information that is detailed or explicit) about
particular behaviors required to bring about the desired solution. That is, solutions
that are specific are detailed and explicit. Even if a solution is achievable and
beneficial, the solution still may not possess enough specific information to be carried
out. A plan of action that is achievable and potentially beneficial represents a high
level of solution quality.

The score for solution quality is based on the participant's highest quality solution

among the series of solutions proposed during the entirety of the discussion. For

example, suppose we are scoring the quality of the solutions generated by the child for

problem 1. If the child generated 3 solutions over the course of the discussion of that

problem, only the highest quality solution is scored.

Coding Rules

i. Occasionally, discussion proceeds to a third problem. Only score the first two
problems identified.
ii. If a parent or child builds onto or expands a solution, give credit for the whole series
of solutions when scoring solution quality.

The following describes the specific scores to be coded for each person in the

dyad for each problem discussed. In most cases, examples are provided for the

disagreement "keeping your room tidy."

Solution Quality Scores

0 = No Solution: This score is used when the participant did not propose a solution or
engage in any activities described in this scale.

Examples include:
"I don't know." (Statement is not a solution)
"Let's work on it." (Statement is not a solution)

1 = Failure to Acknowledge the Problem: In this situation, one participant failed to
acknowledge as a problem the issue identified for discussion, while the other
participant did acknowledge the identified issue as a problem.









Examples include:
"I do too keep my room clean," child counters. (Child does not acknowledge as a
problem the issue that was selected for discussion. Parent, however, does not
agree with child.)
"I don't think that's a problem. I don't think there's anything wrong with the way I
dress." (Child does not acknowledge as a problem the issue of personal
appearance. The parent, however, believes the child's attire is inappropriate.)

Note: Do not score as a '1' the discussion in which the participant has become
convinced of the legitimacy of the problem over the course of the discussion (e.g.,
when child first disagrees that room is a mess but later acknowledges the room is a
mess).

2 = Inappropriate Solution: A solution is proposed but the solution does not address the
problem identified. The solution may be exploitive or is not serious (i.e. solution is
offered in a flippant or sarcastic manner, or is not intended to be a serious solution).
Or, the solution proposed is clearly not achievable.

Examples include:
"Let's go to the moon!" (Solution is not achievable and does not address problem
identified.)
"Maybe we'll win the lottery." (Solution does not address problem identified.)
"Let me have my own bedroom" or "Let's get a housekeeper" (Solution is not
achievable since solution may be financially prohibitive.)
"You can clean my room." (Solution is exploitive)
"The three other kids can share one bedroom and I'll get the other bedroom."
(Solution is exploitive.)
"I'd clean my room if you took me to the movies afterwards." (Solution is
exploitive.)

Note: When considering whether a proposed solution is achievable, it is important to
keep in mind the background of the participants in the study. Do not assume that any
solutions are achievable that would be financially costly (e.g., move to another house;
get one's own room; hire a housekeeper).

3 = Restatement of the Problem: No solution is given but the participant provides a
restatement_of the problem. Or a solution is given that merely restates the other
participant's solution (i.e. no original solution is generated). Restatement is the
articulation of the problem in different words but without providing any additional
information. Restatement can be in the form of a declarative statement or a question.
For example, if the problem is "-L ipitg room tidy or clean, then a restatement is
"you need to clean your room" or "why don 't you keep your room clean?"
Restatement does not include reading the problem identified verbatim. This score is
also used when the participant asks a question that does not add any information
about the problem. As noted, solutions are coded under this category when the
solution expressed by the participant is just a restatement of the other person's
solution or the solution involves restating the problem with no additional information
on how this would be done ("I need to clean my room ").









Examples include:
"You should keep your room clean." (Solution is a restatement of problem)
"I shouldn't mess up my room." (Solution is a restatement of problem)
"I need to lower my voice." (Solution is a restatement of the problem of "being too
noisy")
"I'll clean my room." (Child does not explain how this will be accomplished; the
solution is not specific; there is no plan of action.)
"I'll leave you alone when you ask for time to relax by yourself." (Child restates
mothers' solution.)

4 = Elaboration upon the Problem: Discussion only elaborates upon the problem
without generating a solution. Elaboration can increase one's understanding of the
problem by providing additional information about the problem. Participants may
also elaborate on the problem by providing a leading statement or question that is
designed to elicit information about the problem or solution, such as "where do you
leave your clothes" or "your clothes belong in the.... Leading statements can
facilitate discussion and stimulate the process of generating solutions. Elaboration
can thereby serve as a helpful means of arriving at a solution, but does not of itself
yield a solution.

Examples include:
"You leave your toys and clothes lying around your room." (Parent elaborates by
providing information about the problem.)
"I don't put things away when I'm done using them." (Child elaborates upon
problem.)
"What if I can't reach the toy shelf to put away my toys?";
"But then I could get in trouble if I defend my sister." (Child poses question designed
to elicit information about the tenability of mothers' solution.)
"And what else could you do to keep your room clean?" (Parent poses a leading
question to elicit a more detailed solution.)

5 = Achievable and Specific Solution: Solution is achievable, specific, and could be
beneficial. Solution includes a plan of action. The plan of action provides an
example of one or more specific activities that could be helpful to reaching the
solution proposed. Thus, the plan explains how to achieve the solution proposed.

Examples include:
"You could put one toy away before taking out another one."
"We could get a bin for you to put your dirty clothes into."
"You could go to bed early." (This solution to the problem of getting up in the
morning describes a specific action that could be beneficial in solving the
problem identified.)
"You could clean the mess up right after you've made it."
"You could straighten your room each night before you watch TV."
"I could put away my toys before I go to bed."
"That's not a problem anymore. You now just tell your friends you can only talk on
the phone between 4 and 6 pm." (Both parent and child seem to feel the issue









identified for discussion is no longer a problem. However, they describe a
solution they had previously worked out to the problem identified, a solution that
describes a plan of action they used to solve the problem.)

Codes for Missing Data

99 = Skipped the Problem: BOTH parent and child failed to address (i.e. skipped) the
problem identified for discussion. BOTH parent and child failed to acknowledge the
problem identified for discussion as a problem for them. If the parent and child both
fail to acknowledge the issue identified as any longer a problem for them, but
describe how they had previously solved the problem, then rate the quality of the
solution described (see last example under 5).

Examples include:
"We don't have that problem anymore." (Both parent and child seem to feel the issue
identified for discussion is no longer a problem. No solution is discussed.)
"You don't talk on the phone too much," parent states while child nods in agreement.
(Both parent and child seem to feel the issue identified for discussion, namely
telephone calls, is no longer a problem.)

Note: A score of '99' must be scored in all 3 categories for that problem ('solution
generated by parent,' 'solution generated by child,' and 'solution agreed upon by parent
and child').

99 = Missing: Coder is unable to hear the taped discussion clearly or participants began
discussing issue, but then ran out of time.

Solution Agreement Scale

The discussion of each problem is also scored in terms of whether or not the

parent and child agreed to a solution. Over the course of the discussion of the problem,

several solutions may have been generated. In this case, focus on the final phase of the

discussion and determine if the parent and child agree to a solution. If one party initially

agrees to a solution but other solutions are presented and discussed, do not count this as

agreement. Use both verbal and nonverbal indications of agreement to the other person's

solutions. That is, the participant may say, "ok" or "I could do that," or may simply nod

in affirmation. The agreement need not appear sincere.

0 = No indication that both parties agree
1 = Verbal or non-verbal agreement indicated









Lecture/Moralize Scale

This scale is used to measure the degree to which the parent presents information

in a manner that may be preachy, intrusive, pushy, or moralizing. Rather than discuss

issues, the parent may simply lecture the child or tell how things really are or should be.

The parent may speak in a way that appears to be rhetorical, critical, or judgmental. The

parent may scold or reprimand the child. The parent may interrupt the child or may not

give the child a chance to respond, initiate, or think independently. At lower levels of

lecturing or moralizing behaviors, a parent may provide short discourses on topics,

present maxims, and/or state truisms. A high score on the lecture/moralize scale

indicates that the parent engages in extended monologues concerning the way things

should or shouldn't be, tells how people should or shouldn't act, gives morality lessons

from his/her own experiences, and/or gives advice based on his/ her superior insight. A

parent may also receive a high score by exhibiting frequent brief examples of these

behaviors. At any scale level, the affective quality may be positive, negative, or neutral.

Only parents receive a score on this scale and scores are based on the discussion of both

topics of disagreement. Thus, one score is given to the entire interaction.

Examples of lecturing and moralizing behaviors:

"You should know better..."
"Don't you think it's about time you start doing..."
"When I was a kid..."
"You have to help me."
"It is important that kids get their homework done as soon as they come home
from school. Kids need to be more responsible for getting homework done on
their own. They shouldn't have to wait for their parents to remind them."

Lecture/Moralize Scores

0 = Not at all Characteristic:
The parent does not demonstrate any lecturing or moralizing behaviors.









1 = Somewhat Characteristic:
The parent sometimes displays lecturing or moralizing behaviors at a low to
moderate level. These behaviors are brief, infrequent, and of low intensity.
These behaviors do not appear to impede the conversation. These behaviors,
though they may be annoying or wearisome to others, do not appear to make it
difficult for others to express their views.

2 = Mainly Characteristic:
The parent usually displays lecturing or moralizing behaviors. These behaviors
occur throughout most of the conversation, and may become extended and
unrelenting. Such behaviors may be more intense and prolonged. The parent
may be more intrusive and may lecture or moralize to the point of making it
difficult for others to express their views. The parent tends to monopolize the
conversation and seldom gives the child a chance to respond. Two-way
communication may be actively inhibited.

Clarifications of Lecturing and Moralizing Behaviors:

i. Lecturing and moralizing behaviors often include verbal interruptions by the
parent, especially interruptions that are overwhelming, complaining in nature, or
that do not allow the others to think for themselves. Interruptions are likely to
indicate lecturing or moralizing if they reduce, rather than increase, discussion in
the family.

ii. Interrupting behavior followed by "should" or "ought" statements, even though
not negative in emotional affect, may indicate lecturing or moralizing.

iii. Lecturing or moralizing parental behavior often conveys beliefs and opinions in a
lecturing, annoying manner, but also can be delivered more neutrally or even
positively.

iv. Parents can turn an interaction into a soap-box lecture by telling the child all
he/she does wrong or should be doing (e.g., "you always/never...") or by
extolling the virtues of getting good grades or how life for the parent was as a
child.

v. Lecturing or moralizing to the camera is considered lecturing or moralizing to the
child.

vi. Score Lecture/Moralize if the parent uses preachy "should/ought" statements,
even if these are short. Such statements convey the sense that "I'm the expert; let
me tell you how things really work," or "I'm telling you this for your own good."
They close off, rather than invite, dialogue.















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Gillian Nassau received a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. John's College in

Annapolis, MD. She received a Master of Social Work degree from Florida State

University. She worked as a freelance editor while pursuing graduate studies. Her areas

of interest are social policy, social development, family conflict, and parent education.