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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2014, Vol. 46 Issue (1) : 90-100     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2014.00090
Parental Conflict Affects Adolescents' Depression and Social Anxiety: Based on Cognitive-contextual and Emotional Security Theories
WANG Mingzhong;FAN Cuiying;ZHOU Zongkui;CHEN Wu
(Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior; School of Psychology, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, 430079, China)
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Interparental conflict leads to various internal problems such as social anxiety and depression in adolescents. Two classical theories have been formulated to reveal the mechanisms by which interparental conflict could negatively affect adolescents’ internal problems. According to the cognitive-contextual theory, adolescents’ cognitive appraisal determines the degree to which interparental conflict affects adolescents’ internal problems. The emotional security theory holds that, interparental conflict affects adolescents’ internal problems through the mediating role of emotional insecurity. The cognitive-contextual theory has been validated by much empirical research while the emotional security theory relatively lacks empirical evidence. We intend to test these two theories by two single-mediator models and more importantly, it’s our main work to integrate these two theories to form a more comprehensive model. Based on the two theories, we hypothesize that cognitive appraisal or emotional insecurity could independently mediate the path from interparental conflict to adolescents’ internal problems. By integrating the two theories, we hypothesize that interparetnal conflict affects adolescents’ cognitive appraisal and their emotional insecurity serially, and finally lead to their internal problems. 481 high school students were conveniently chosen as our subjects who were investigated with such instruments as Children's Perception of Interparental Conflict Scale (CPIC), Security in the Interparental Subsystem Scale (SIS scale), Depressive Experience Questionnaire (DEQ) and Social Anxiety Subscale. With every class as a unit and under the supervision of two psychological graduates, these scales were administered to adolescents. Data were collected and analyzed by using SPSS 17.0 and LISREL 8.80. The hypothetical models fit the data satisfactorily, especially for the third model. Results indicated that adolescents’ perceived level of parental conflict positively predicted adolescents’ cognitive appraisal as well as emotional insecurity which then positively predicted adolescents’ depression and their social anxiety; adolescents’ perceived level of parental conflict had no direct effects on adolescents’ internal problems; in the integrating model, cognitive appraisal could positively predict emotional insecurity, interparental conflict affected adolescents’ cognitive appraisal, emotional insecurity and internal problems serially. The following hypotheses were supported: (1) Adolescents' cognitive appraisals could completely mediate the path from their perceived level of parental conflict to their internalized problems such as social anxiety and depression, supporting the cognitive-contextual theory. (2) Emotional insecurity could completely mediate the path from their perceived level of parental conflict to their social anxiety and depression, supporting the emotional security theory. (3) Based on integrating the cognitive contextual theory and the emotional security theory, the third model fits the data more satisfactorily which supports the hypothesis that adolescents’ perceived level of parental conflict serially affects adolescents’ cognitive appraisals and emotional insecurity which then affects their social anxiety and depression.

Keywords adolescent      cognitive appraisal      emotional insecurity      social anxiety     
Corresponding Authors: ZHOU Zongkui   
Issue Date: 25 January 2014
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WANG Mingzhong;FAN Cuiying;ZHOU Zongkui;CHEN Wu. Parental Conflict Affects Adolescents' Depression and Social Anxiety: Based on Cognitive-contextual and Emotional Security Theories[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica,2014, 46(1): 90-100.
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