Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Pittman, Laura D.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


In recent decades, the family literature has demonstrated that the influences of coparenting spread through the entire family system and also uniquely affect child and adolescent psychosocial outcomes. For example, extant evidence shows that coparenting influences the connection between marital conflict and adolescent psychosocial outcomes. However, the period of adolescence is underscored by novel stressors, as teenagers experience biological, psychological, social, and cognitive transformations. Moreover, the median age of onset for mood, anxiety, substance use, and impulse-control disorders is before 25 years of age and most frequently during adolescence. Additionally, the manner in which adolescents cope with stressors may buffer against or exacerbate the deleterious effects of that stressor. Despite this, much of the research on coparenting has utilized non-clinical samples of youth. Therefore, the present study utilized a sample of treatment-seeking adolescents and examined the manner in which their perceptions of their parents’ coparenting practices (i.e., coparenting cooperation, coparenting conflict, and coparenting triangulation) influence the association between marital conflict and their own psychological adjustment. Potential moderating influences of teens’ coping styles (i.e., primary control coping, secondary control coping, and voluntary disengagement) were also explored. The present study included a sample of 79 adolescents (M age = 14.97, SD = 2.20; 62.0% female; 74.7% White, Non-Hispanic) receiving outpatient mental health services in the Chicago area completed electronic questionnaires. Initial mediation analyses demonstrated that coparenting cooperation and coparenting conflict fully mediated the link between marital conflict and adolescent psychological adjustment. Coparenting triangulation did not significantly mediate this connection. When all three coparenting constructs were considered simultaneously in a parallel mediation model, none of the three coparenting dimensions emerged as significant mediators. Additional analyses examined primary control coping, secondary control coping, and voluntary disengagement coping as moderators of the links between coparenting, marital conflict, and adolescent outcomes within the full parallel mediation model. However, none of the coping constructs significantly moderated the connections within the simultaneous mediation models. Limitations of the current study and implications of how the coparenting relationship may influence adolescents’ psychosocial adjustment are discussed.


150 pages




Northern Illinois University

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