Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Pittman, Laura D.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Clinical psychology; Developmental psychology


There is growing evidence that the coparenting relationship maintains a strong influence on child psychological wellbeing, however this influence has not been as widely studied in relation to adolescent outcomes. Additionally, adolescent perspectives of their coparents' relationship have not been examined using a U.S. sample from intact families. Adolescence is a period rife with novel stressors and an increased risk for poor mental health outcomes. Thus, it is important to examine contextual family factors, such as the coparenting relationship, that have demonstrated an influence on psychosocial outcomes during other early stages of development. Extant evidence suggests that the coparenting relationship also influences the marital relationship, a further contextual family factor that has been connected with adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems. As such, the present study examined the manner in which adolescent report of three distinct coparenting dimensions (i.e., cooperation, triangulation, and conflict) influence the relationship between marital conflict and adolescent internalizing and externalizing behaviors. In this study, 133 young adolescents (M age = 12.53, SD = 0.96; 49% female; 64.7% White, Non-Hispanic) completed electronic questionnaires in classrooms. Initial hierarchical regression analyses revealed that coparenting cooperation was negatively associated with adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems, even when controlling for marital conflict, minority status, maternal education, and family standard of living. Coparenting triangulation and conflict yielded significant positive associations with adolescent externalizing problems, while coparenting triangulation was also significantly positively associated with internalizing problems. Further hierarchical regression analyses illustrated that, when all three coparenting dimensions were considered simultaneously, only coparenting triangulation maintained a significant association with adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems. Tests of mediation and moderation were also conducted. None of the coparenting dimensions moderated the association between marital conflict and adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems. However, coparenting conflict, triangulation, and cooperation significantly mediated the link between marital conflict and adolescent externalizing problems. Coparenting cooperation and triangulation also mediated the link between marital conflict and adolescent internalizing problems. Implications of how the coparenting relationship may influence adolescents' psychosocial functioning in the context of marital conflict are discussed.


Advisors: Laura D. Pittman.||Committee members: Julia A. Ogg; Karen J. White.||Includes illustrations.||Includes bibliographical references.


91 pages




Northern Illinois University

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