Faculty Articles

Family conflict and children's internalizing and externalizing behavior: Protective factors

Diana Formoso, Nova Southeastern University
N.A. Gonzales
L.S. Aiken


The current investigation examined whether the positive association of family conflict to adolescent depression and conduct problems is attenuated by maternal, paternal, and peer attachment, and maternal and paternal monitoring, within a low-income, multiethnic sample of 284 adolescents. Parental attachment and monitoring moderated the link from family conflict to conduct problems but not depression; the relationships among family conflict, the hypothesized protective factors, and conduct problems were further modified by adolescent gender but not ethnicity. In general, higher levels of the hypothesized protective factors attenuated the relationship between family conflict and conduct problems for girls but exacerbated this relationship for boys. These findings suggest that, in general, parental attachment and monitoring served as protective factors for girls while serving as additional risk factors for boys in conflictual families.