Family and legal indicators of child adjustment to divorce among families with young children

Marsha Kline Pruett, Tamra Y. Williams, Glendessa Insabella, Todd D. Little

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


This research used structural equation modeling to examine relations among family dynamics, attorney involvement, and the adjustment of young children (0-6 years) at the time of parental separation. The article presents baseline data (N = 102 nonresidential fathers and N = 110 primary caretaking mothers) from a larger longitudinal study. Results showed that the effects of parental conflict on child outcomes were mediated by paternal involvement, the parent-child relationship, and attorney involvement. A scale assessing parental gatekeeping yielded two significant factors: Spouse's Influence on Parenting and Positive View of Spouse. Paternal involvement was related to children's adaptive behavior, whereas negative changes in parent-child relationships predicted behavior problems. Mothers who experienced greater psychological symptomatology were less likely to utilize an attorney, which in turn predicted greater internalizing problems in their children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-180
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2003


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