Human Development and Family Studies

Dr. Cheryl Buehler Abstracts

Marital Relationships

Buehler, C., & Welsh, D. P. (2009). A Process Model of Adolescents’ Triangulation into Parents’ Marital Conflict: The Role of Emotional Reactivity. Journal of Family Psychology, 23, 167-180.

This study examined adolescents’ emotional reactivity to parents’ marital conflict as a mediator of the association between triangulation and adolescents’ internalizing problems in a sample of 2-parent families (N=426). Four waves of annual, multiple-informant data were analyzed (youth 11-15 years). The authors used structural equation modeling and found that triangulation was associated with increases in adolescents’ internalizing problems, controlling for marital hostility and adolescent externalizing problems. There also was an indirect pathway from triangulation to internalizing problems across time through youths’ emotional reactivity. Moderating analyses indicated that the 2nd half of the pathway, the association between emotional reactivity and increased internalizing problems, characterized youth with lower levels of hopefulness and attachment to parents. The findings help detail why triangulation is a risk factor for adolescents’ development and which youth will profit most from interventions focused on emotional regulation.

Proulx, C. M, Buehler, C., & Helms, H. (2009). Moderators of the link between marital hostility and change in spouses’ depressive symptoms. Journal of Family Psychology, 23, 540-550

This study examined the moderating roles of marital warmth and recent life events in the association between observed marital hostility and changes in spouses’ depressive symptoms over 3 years. Using the actor-partner interdependence model (APIM), structural equation models (N = 416 couples) suggested that husbands’ marital hostility was significantly related to increases in wives’ depressive symptoms. Moderator analyses showed that husbands’ warmth and wives’ warmth moderate the association between marital hostility and change in wives’ depressive symptoms. The association between husbands’ hostility and increases in wives’ depressive symptoms was stronger under conditions of lower levels of husbands’ warmth than under conditions of higher levels of husbands’ warmth. This same pattern was found for wives’ warmth. Regarding life events, the association between wives’ hostility and increases in husbands’ depressive symptoms was stronger for couples with more recent life events than for couples with fewer recent life events. Practical and empirical implications are discussed.

Co-researcher Update: Chris Proulx studied with Dr. Heather Helms and me for five years. She used the Family Life Project data for her doctoral research, focusing on marital quality and spouses’ psychological well-being. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Catherine Surra at the University of Texas – Austin, and currently is an Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Buehler, C., Lange, G., & Franck, K. L.  (2007). Adolescents’ cognitive and emotional responses to marital hostility. Child Development, 78, 775.

Early adolescents' (11–14 years) responses to marital hostility were examined in a sample of 416 families. The cognitive-contextual perspective and emotional security hypothesis guided the study and 9 adolescent responses were identified. Prospective associations were examined in several structural equation models that included adolescent problems as outcomes. Self-blame and perceived threat uniquely mediated the association between Year 1 marital hostility and Year 3 adolescent externalizing problems ( p<.05). Self-blame, lower constructive representations, internalization of feelings, avoidance, and emotional dysregulation uniquely mediated the association between Year 1 marital hostility and Year 3 internalizing problems. Specific cognitive and emotionally based responses are important to understanding how martial hostility affects youth and need to be considered within an integrated model.

Co-researcher Update: Karen Franck studied with me for 6 years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and then stayed on as a Postdoctoral Fellow coordinating the Family Life Project. Karen currently is a Research Associate in the department of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Tennessee.

Franck, K. L., & Buehler, C. (2007). A family process model of marital hostility, parental depressive affect and early adolescent problem behavior: The roles of triangulation and parental warmth. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 614-625

This study examined adolescents’ emotional reactivity to parents’ marital conflict as a mediator of the association between triangulation and adolescents’ internalizing problems in a sample of 2-parent families (N=426). Four waves of annual, multiple-informant data were analyzed (youth 11-15 years). The authors used structural equation modeling and found that triangulation was associated with increases in adolescents’ internalizing problems, controlling for marital hostility and adolescent externalizing problems. There also was an indirect pathway from triangulation to internalizing problems across time through youths’ emotional reactivity. Moderating analyses indicated that the 2nd half of the pathway, the association between emotional reactivity and increased internalizing problems, characterized youth with lower levels of hopefulness and attachment to parents. The findings help detail why triangulation is a risk factor for adolescents’ development and which youth will profit most from interventions focused on emotional regulation.

Co-researcher Update: Karen Franck studied with me for 6 years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and then stayed on as a Postdoctoral Fellow coordinating the Family Life Project. Karen currently is a Research Associate in the department of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Tennessee.

Proulx, C. M., Helms, H., & Buehler, C. (2007). Marital quality and personal well-being: A meta-analysis. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69, 576-593.

 This study examines the association between marital quality and personal well-being using meta-analytic techniques. Effects from 93 studies were analyzed. The average weighted effect size r was .37 for cross-sectional and .25 for longitudinal effects. Results indicate that several variables moderate the association between marital quality and personal well-being, including gender, participants' marital duration, source of measurement, data collection year, and dependent variable. These results suggest that longitudinal effects are more likely to be uncovered when using standard measurement and that future research should use samples homogenous in marital length. The longitudinal finding that the strength of the association is stronger when personal well-being is treated as the dependent variable supports previous theorizing.

Co-researcher Update: Chris Proulx studied with Dr. Heather Helms and me for five years. She used the Family Life Project data for her doctoral research, focusing on marital quality and spouses’ psychological well-being. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Catherine Surra at the University of Texas – Austin, and currently is an Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri in Columbia.

Gerard, J. M., Krishnakumar, A., & Buehler, C. (2006). Marital conflict, parent-child relations, and youth maladjustment: A longitudinal investigation of spillover effects. Journal of Family Issues, 27, 951- 975.

Contemporaneous and longitudinal associations among maritalconflict, parent-child relationship quality, and youth maladjustmentwere examined using data from the National Survey of Families and Households. Analyses were based on 551 married families with a child age 5 to 11 years at Wave 1. The concurrent association between marital conflict and youth externalizing problems at both waves was mediated completely at Wave 1 and partially at Wave 2 by harsh discipline and parent-youth conflict. The concurrent association between marital conflict and internalizing problems at both waves was mediated partially through parent-youth conflict. Longitudinal mediating effects were detected through stable marital conflict over 5 years and through its connection with parent-youth conflict. Findings delineate areas of specificity and stability in marital conflict processes as children transition from middle childhood through adolescence.

Co-researcher update: Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University. Ambika Krishnakumar studied with me for five years and then was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Maureen Black in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland. She currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Buehler, C., & Gerard, J. (2002). Marital conflict, ineffective parenting, and children’s and adolescent’s maladjustment. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 64, 78-92.

Data from the 1988 National Survey on Families and Households were analyzed to examine the associations among marital conflict, ineffective parenting, and children's and adolescents' maladjustment. Parents' use of harsh discipline and low parental involvement helped explain the connection between marital conflict and children's maladjustment in children aged 2 through 11. Parent-child conflict was measured only in families with a target teenager and also was a significant mediator. Although ineffective parenting explained part of the association between marital conflict and children's maladjustment, independent effects of marital conflict remained in families with target children aged 2 through 11 (but not for families with a teenager). With a few exceptions, this pattern of findings was consistent for mothers' and fathers' reports, for daughters and sons, for families with various ethnic backgrounds, and for families living in and out of poverty.

Co-researcher update: Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Buehler, C., & Pasley, K. (2000). Family boundary ambiguity, marital status, and child adjustment. Journal of Early Adolescence, 20, 281-308.

The association between children’s perceptions of boundary ambiguity and their personal adjustment was examinedin a sample of 262 children who lived with their biological parents and 87 children who lived with their single, divorced mothers or their divorced mothers and stepfathers. Adjustment was assessed by measuring mother and teacher reports of child problem behaviors and academic performance. The specific component of boundaries examined was fathers’ psychological and physical presence in the family. The results did not support the hypothesis that an incongruence between children’s perceptions of fathers’ psychological and physical presence would be associated with greater adjustment problems in preadolescents and early adolescents. In addition to testing hypotheses deduced from the boundary ambiguity literature, the independent roles of children’s perceptions of fathers’ psychological presence and family composition were examined to test competing hypotheses. The family structure perspective received the most support.

Buehler, C., & Gerard, J. M.  (1995). Divorce law in the United States: A focus on child custody.  Family Relations, 44, 439-458.

In this article, we review important legal issues related to child custody decision making during and following divorce, and also abstract relevant information from the 50 states and District of Columbia. We discuss the best interests of the child (BIOC) standard and intermediate rules that can be or are used to define best interests. We also discuss the legal standing of third par-ties litigating with natural parents; the rights and responsibilities of noncustodial parents, grandparents, and stepparents; and the role of alternative dispute resolution forums and professionals other than judges in the decision-making process.

Co-researcher update: Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Buehler, C., & Legg, B.H. (1993). Mothers' receipt of social support and their psychological well-being following marital separation. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 10, 21-38.

A sample of 144 separated women with children was used to examine the direct and buffering effects of social support on the relationship between stressful life change and their psychological well-being approximately 6 months following marital separation. The results indicated that the relationship between life change and psychological well-being was buffered by various aspects of social support. These aspects were the number of sources from which support was received, support from family and friends, and support that functioned to enhance self-esteem and provide social companionship. In addition, there was a direct, positive relationship between receipt of technical support and psychoemotional well-being.

Ihinger-Tallman, M.I., Pasley, B.K., & Buehler, C. (1993). Developing a middle-range theory of father involvement postdivorce.  Journal of Family Issues, 14, 550-571.

The problem addressed in the article is why so many fathers remove themselves from their children's lives after divorce. The authors develop a theory that offers a partial explanation of this phenomena based on the potential for change in the salience of a man's identity as a father postdivorce. Propositions are developed and hypotheses are derived from symbolic interaction and identity theory. The authors define and interrelate the concepts of identity, saliency, commitment, and significant others to explain father presence or absence postdivorce across time. The theory further isolates a number of variables that are expected to moderate (strengthen or weaken) the relationship between father parenting-role identity and father involvement. Identifying modifiers enables the authors to stipulate why some fathers are more involved with their children following separation by explaining the conditions under which father identity becomes translated into a patterned set of behaviors.

Buehler, C., Betz, P., Ryan, C.M., Legg, B.H., & Trotter, B.B. (1992). Description and evaluation of the Orientation for Divorcing Parents: Implications for postdivorce prevention programs. Family Relations, 41, 154-162.

This article addresses design and evaluation issues of community-based programs for families experiencing marital separation and divorce. The article is divided into four sections. General programmatic issues are reviewed and discussed in section 1. In section 2, a specific community-based program entitled 'The Orientation for Divorcing Parents' is presented. Section 3 contains details of the formal evaluation of this specific program, and section 4 discusses implications of this literature review and evaluation study for future programs for families characterized by marital divorce.

Buehler, C., & Legg, B.H. (1992). Selected aspects of parenting and children's social competence post-separation: The moderating effects of child's sex, age, and family economic hardship. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 18(3/4), 177-195.

The purpose of this study was to assess the moderating effects of child's sex, ace, and family economic hardship on the relationship between (a) residential mother's parenting and frequency of nonresidential father's visitation, and (b) child social competence following marital separation. Dimensions of mother's parenting included loss of time spent with the child since separation, mother's current levels of companionship and coercion, and daily involvement in meaningful activities with the child. Dimensions of children's social competence included dependency, aggression, anxiety/ withdrawal, and productivity. The results indicated that the relationships among mother's parenting, father's visitation, and children's social competence are fairly consistent, regardless of child's age, sex, or level of family economic hardship. The few exceptions are noted and intervention implications are discussed.

Buehler, C., & Trotter, B. B.  (1990). Nonresidential and residential parents' perceptions of the former spouse relationship and children's social competence following marital separation:  Theory and programmed intervention. Family Relations, 39, 395-404.

The purposes of this study are (a) to examine the relationships among dimensions of the former spouse relationship and children's social competence (CSC) post-separation using data collected from nonresidential and residential separated parents, and (b) to examine the impact of a community-based, educational prevention program for divorcing parents on the quality of the former spouse relationship. The sample consisted of 193 separated and divorcing parents identified through court records- 113 program participants and 80 nonparticipants. Using conflict theory to conceptualize the former spouse relationship, coparental conflict, competition, and cooperation were considered distinct dimensions. The results indicate that coparental competition is related more strongly to CSC than is conflict or cooperation. Importantly, the relationships among the coparental and CSC variables are much stronger for nonresidential than residential parents. Finally, the analysis of pre to post prevention program change scores indicates that there is a greater trend toward decreased coparental competition reported by the residential parent participants compared to the nonparticipants but the trend is not statistically significant. No other group effects are found.

Buehler, C. (1989). Influential factors and equity issues in divorce settlements. Family Relations, 38, 76-82.

Divorcing parents have the challenge of determining postdivorce rights and responsibilities. If they are unable to meet this challenge, a judge will determine these rights and responsibilities. This legal agreement constitutes the divorce settlement and includes custody, visitation, and financial arrangements. The purpose of this article is to outline common custody, visitation, child and spousal support, and property arrangements and to identify factors which correlate with various arrangements. Based on this review, questions are raised that family life educators, therapists, and policy advocates should consider when planning and implementing their interventions, and possible program formats are proposed.

Buehler, C. (1988). The social and emotional well‑being of divorced residential parents.  Sex Roles, 18, 247-257.

Social and emotional well-being of 141 divorced mothers and 36 and divorced fathers were examined. All parents had children living in their households. There were no differences between mothers’ and fathers’ reports of psychosomatic  symptomatology, life satisfaction, life-area rankings, family cooperation, social support from relatives, and satisfaction with the contact with their former spouses. Mothers reported more health improvements since the divorce and higher levels of family esteem than fathers did. These findings are discussed in relation to the expectations associated with and the enactment of social and familial roles.

Buehler, C. (1987). Initiator status and the divorce transition. Family Relations, 36, 82‑86.

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of initiator status on emotional well-being, psychological well-being, and divorce-related stress at two points during the divorce transition. A representative sample of 80 divorced parents were surveyed 6 to 12 (T1) and 18 to 24 (T2) months post decree. A major finding was that initiators and noninitiators shared similar emotional responses to the divorce. However, the timing of the responses differed. Initiators experienced more change, stress, and personal growth at Ti, whereas noninitiators reported higher levels at T2. The implications of these timing differences for clinical and educational practice were explored.

Buehler, C., Hogan, M. J., Robinson, B., & Levy, R. (1986). Remarriage following divorce:  Stressors and well-being of custodial and noncustodial parents. Journal of Family Issues, 7, 405‑420.

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between (1) remarriage status and former spouses' divorce-related stressors and (2) remarriage status and former spouses' current well-being. Divorce-related stressors were classified as economic, housing, legal, parent-child, or former spouse. Self-esteem, parenting satisfaction, and economic well-being were used to measure current well-being. A sample of 125 former couples (250 individuals) was divided into four remarriage groups: neither former spouse had remarried, only the husband had remarried, only the wife had remarried, and both had remarried. Using multivariate analysis of variance, divorce-related stressors, self-esteem, and parenting satisfaction were not related to remarriage status, whereas economic well-being was related. These findings are discussed and the relationship between the divorce and remarriage transitions is explored.

Buehler, C. & Hogan, M. J. (1980). Managerial behavior and stress in families headed by divorced women: A proposed framework. Family Relations, 29, 525‑532.

Female-headed families are vulnerable to high levels of stress following divorce. A framework is proposed which conceptually links economic stressors and family management patterns. Ecosystem and management perspectives are offered as an integrated framework. Implications given for public policy and educational programming aimed at stress reduction and improved management in families headed by divorced women are based on this framework.

Adolescent Problems

Buehler, C., & Welsh, D. P. (2009). A Process Model of Adolescents’ Triangulation into Parents’ Marital Conflict: The Role of Emotional Reactivity. Journal of Family Psychology, 23, 167-180.

This study examined adolescents’ emotional reactivity to parents’ marital conflict as a mediator of the association between triangulation and adolescents’ internalizing problems in a sample of 2-parent families (N=426). Four waves of annual, multiple-informant data were analyzed (youth 11-15 years). The authors used structural equation modeling and found that triangulation was associated with increases in adolescents’ internalizing problems, controlling for marital hostility and adolescent externalizing problems. There also was an indirect pathway from triangulation to internalizing problems across time through youths’ emotional reactivity. Moderating analyses indicated that the 2nd half of the pathway, the association between emotional reactivity and increased internalizing problems, characterized youth with lower levels of hopefulness and attachment to parents. The findings help detail why triangulation is a risk factor for adolescents’ development and which youth will profit most from interventions focused on emotional regulation.

Cook, E. C., Buehler, C. & Henson, R. (2009). Parents and Peers as Social Influences to Deter Antisocial Behavior. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38, 1240-1252.

Co-researcher Update: Emily Cook studied with me and Dr. Anne Fletcher for four years. She used data from the Family Life Project to study adolescents’ antisocial behavior and youths’ friendships. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Community Psychology at Yale University.

Benson, M., Buehler, C., & Gerard, J. M. (2008). Interparental hostility and early adolescent problem behavior: Spillover via maternal acceptance, harshness, inconsistency, and intrusiveness. Journal of Early Adolescence, 28, 428-454.

To explore the link between interparental hostility and adolescent problem behaviors, the current study examines four important maternal parenting dimensions as potential mediators: acceptance, harshness, inconsistency, and psychological intrusiveness. With a primary sample of 1,893 sixth-grade students, the measures included adolescent and teacher reports. Structural equation modeling revealed that each parenting construct partially mediated both internalizing and externalizing adolescent problems. Harshness was the strongest mediator for adolescent externalizing. Psychological intrusiveness and low maternal acceptance were the strongest mediators for adolescent internalizing. Inconsistency linked similarly to both internalizing and externalizing. Stronger linkages were found in families with married parents compared to those with divorced parents, but overall the patterns were similar. Youth gender and ethnic differences in the spillover processes were minimal. The findings provide a process model for understanding interparental conflict and adolescent problems.

Co-researcher update: Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Ghazarian, S., & Buehler, C. Interparental Conflict and Academic Achievement: An Examination of Mediating and Moderating Factors. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. Appeared online in 2008.

Using a risk and resiliency theoretical framework, the association between interparental conflict and academic achievement was examined. The sample consisted of 2,297 6th grade youth with a mean age of 11.92. Participants were mostly European American (81.8%) and 52% were girls. Results demonstrated that interparental conflict is a risk factor for lower academic achievement, suggesting that family interactions play a significant role in how youth perform in the academic setting. Youth self-blame acted as a significant mediator, providing some explanation for how interparental conflict affects academic achievement. Maternal acceptance and monitoring knowledge partially buffered the association between interparental conflict and youth self-blame. Additionally, the positive association between interparental conflict and perceived threat was stronger for youth who perceived relationships with mothers as more supportive, connected, and involved. Results from this study underscore the need for continued focus on the link between family and school environments with respect to youth developmental outcomes.

Co-researcher Update: Sharon Ghazarian studied with Dr. Andrew Supple in his work on adolescent development in immigrant families. She and I shared an interest in youths’ academic achievement and she analyzed FLP data to examine the marital and parenting influences on grades during middle school. Sharon currently is completing a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University.

Buehler, C., Lange, G., & Franck, K. L.  (2007). Adolescents’ cognitive and emotional responses to marital hostility. Child Development, 78, 775.

Early adolescents' (11–14 years) responses to marital hostility were examined in a sample of 416 families. The cognitive-contextual perspective and emotional security hypothesis guided the study and 9 adolescent responses were identified. Prospective associations were examined in several structural equation models that included adolescent problems as outcomes. Self-blame and perceived threat uniquely mediated the association between Year 1 marital hostility and Year 3 adolescent externalizing problems ( p<.05). Self-blame, lower constructive representations, internalization of feelings, avoidance, and emotional dysregulation uniquely mediated the association between Year 1 marital hostility and Year 3 internalizing problems. Specific cognitive and emotionally based responses are important to understanding how martial hostility affects youth and need to be considered within an integrated model.

Co-researcher Update: Karen Franck studied with me for 6 years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and then stayed on as a Postdoctoral Fellow coordinating the Family Life Project. Karen currently is a Research Associate in the department of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Tennessee.

Franck, K. L., & Buehler, C. (2007). A family process model of marital hostility, parental depressive affect and early adolescent problem behavior: The roles of triangulation and parental warmth. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 614-625.

This study examined adolescents’ emotional reactivity to parents’ marital conflict as a mediator of the association between triangulation and adolescents’ internalizing problems in a sample of 2-parent families (N=426). Four waves of annual, multiple-informant data were analyzed (youth 11-15 years). The authors used structural equation modeling and found that triangulation was associated with increases in adolescents’ internalizing problems, controlling for marital hostility and adolescent externalizing problems. There also was an indirect pathway from triangulation to internalizing problems across time through youths’ emotional reactivity. Moderating analyses indicated that the 2nd half of the pathway, the association between emotional reactivity and increased internalizing problems, characterized youth with lower levels of hopefulness and attachment to parents. The findings help detail why triangulation is a risk factor for adolescents’ development and which youth will profit most from interventions focused on emotional regulation.

Co-researcher Update: Karen Frank studied with me for 6 years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and then stayed on as a Postdoctoral Fellow coordinating the Family Life Project. Karen currently is a Research Associate in the department of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Tennessee.

Buehler, C. (2006). Parents and peers in relation to early adolescent problem behavior. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68, 109-124.

Concurrent and prospective associations between parent-youth dyadic hostility and adolescent externalizing and internalizing problem behavior were examined in a sample of 416 families. Parenting control, parents' well-being, and youths' affiliation with deviant peers were included as integral covariates. Information from multiple sources was analyzed using structural equation modeling. Concurrently, youth externalizing problems were associated with dyadic hostility, deviant peers, inadequate parenting control, and fathers' well-being (inversely). Internalizing problems were associated with inadequate parenting control and lower levels of fathers' well-being. Prospectively, some of these relations continued over 2 years, with a few new associations emerging. A process model is proposed in which parent-youth dyadic hostility during early adolescence influences parenting, peer relations, and parents' well-being over time.

Buehler, C., Benson, M., & Gerard, J. M. (2006). Interparental hostility and early adolescent problem behavior: The mediating role of specific aspects of parenting. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 16, 265-292.

This study examines how parenting helps explain the contemporaneous association between interparental hostility and adolescent problem behavior. A theoretical model of spillover was tested specifying five aspects of mothers' and fathers' parenting that might be associated with parents' hostile interactions with one another: harshness, inconsistency, psychological intrusiveness, and lower levels of acceptance and monitoring knowledge. The sample consisted of 416 early adolescents and their married parents. The association between interparental hostility and adolescent externalizing problems was mediated uniquely by fathers' and mothers' harshness, lower levels of fathers' monitoring knowledge, and mothers' psychological intrusiveness. The association between interparental hostility and adolescent internalizing was mediated uniquely by mothers' harshness, psychological intrusiveness, and lower levels of acceptance. These patterns were similar for sons and daughters.

Co-researcher update: Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Krishnakumar, A., Buehler, C., & Barber, B. K. (2003). Youth perceptions of interparental conflict, ineffective parenting, and youth problem behaviors in European American and African American families. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 20(2), 239-260.

The purpose of this study was to examine the spillover of youth perceptions of interparental conflict (IPC) into ineffective parenting and youth problem behaviors in a sample of 542 European-American (EA) and 150 African-American (AA) youth. Data were collected from youth aged 10 through 18 years using a school-based survey. The findings indicated that IPC was associated positively with youth problem behaviors in both European-American and African-American samples. For EA families, IPC was linked with youth externalizing problem behaviors through lower levels of parental monitoring, maternal acceptance, and higher levels of parent–youth conflict, and with internalizing problem behaviors through higher levels of maternal psychological control and parent–youth conflict. Although IPC was associated with higher levels of parent–youth conflict and maternal psychological control and lower levels of parental monitoring in AA families, the spillover model received minimal support because parenting measures were not associated systematically with youth problem behaviors.

Co-researcher Update: Ambika Krishnakumar studied with me for five years and then was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Maureen Black in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland. She currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Buehler, C., & Pasley, K. (2000). Family boundary ambiguity, marital status, and child adjustment. Journal of Early Adolescence, 20, 281-308.

The association between children’s perceptions of boundary ambiguity and their personal adjustment was examined in a sample of 262 children who lived with their biological parents and 87 children who lived with their single, divorced mothers or their divorced mothers and stepfathers. Adjustment was assessed by measuring mother and teacher reports of child problem behaviors and academic performance. The specific component of boundaries examined was fathers’ psychological and physical presence in the family. The results did not support the hypothesis that an incongruence between children’s perceptions of fathers’ psychological and physical presence would be associated with greater adjustment problems in preadolescents and early adolescents. In addition to testing hypotheses deduced from the boundary ambiguity literature, the independent roles of children’s perceptions of fathers’ psychological presence and family composition were examined to test competing hypotheses. The family structure perspective received the most support.

Gerard, J. G., & Buehler, C. (1999). Multiple risk factors in the family environment and youth problem behaviors. Journal of Marriage and Family, 61, 343-361

We test three risk models (independent-additive, interactive, and exponential) to examine how multiple risk factors in the family environment-overt interparental conflict, poor parenting, and economic hardship-operate conjointly to predict youth problem behaviors. The sample includes 335 preadolescent and early adolescent youth. Findings from this study support the pattern of independent, additive effects of individual family stressors. We found no support for the idea that the effects of poor parenting, overt interparental conflict, and family economic hardship exacerbate one another, nor did the converse serve as buffers. The independent, additive model explains more variance in externalizing problem behavior for youth in nondivorced, two-parent households. Poor parenting is the strongest risk factor. Economic hardship is the only significant risk factor for youth internalizing problem behavior.

Co-researcher update: Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Buehler, C., Krishnakumar, A., Stone, G., Anthony, C., Pemberton, S., Gerard, J., & Barber, B. K. (1998). Interparental conflict styles and youth problem behavior: A two-sample replication study. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 60, 119-132.

We examine the association between interparental conflict and youth internalizing and externalizing problem behaviors. Youth perceptions of three interparental conflict variables are studied: frequency of disagreement, parents ' use of an overt conflict style, and parents' use of a covert conflict style. Data are from two samples of youth from Tennessee and Utah. Interparental conflict variables account for over 20% of the variance in youth problem behaviors, and hostile conflict styles are more strongly associated with problem behavior than is the frequency of disagreement. The results are fairly consistent for sons and daughters, preadolescent and early adolescent youth, youth in nondivorced and divorced (mother-custody) families, poor and less-poor youth, and Mormon and non-Mormon youth.

Co-researcher Update: Ambika Krishnakumar studied with me for five years and then was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Maureen Black in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland. She currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Gaye Stone studied with me for four years and currently is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Chattanooga, TN.

Buehler, C., Anthony, C., Krishnakumar, A., Stone, G., Gerard, J., & Pemberton, S. (1997). Interparental conflict and youth problem behaviors: A meta-analysis. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 6, 233-247.

We examined the proposition that interparental conflict is associated with internalizing and externalizing problems in youth ages 5 to 18. This examination was done by conducting a meta-analysis of 348 statistical effects from 68 studies. The average effect size (d-value) was .32. There was considerable variability among effect sizes and this variability was associated with the average time since separation for separated/divorced parents, the socioeconomic status composition of the sample, and average parental education in the sample. The variability among effect sizes also was associated with the source of the informant used to assess interparental conflict and youth problem behaviors. Surprisingly, many of the other study characteristics we coded were not associated with variability in the effect sizes.

Co-researcher Update: Ambika Krishnakumar studied with me for five years and then was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Maureen Black in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland. She currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

 Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Gaye Stone studied with me for four years and currently is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Chattanooga, TN.

Parenting / Co-Parenting

Cook, E. C., Buehler, C. & Henson, R. (2009). Parents and Peers as Social Influences to Deter Antisocial Behavior. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38, 1240-1252.

Co-researcher Update: Emily Cook studied with me and Dr. Anne Fletcher for four years. She used data from the Family Life Project to study adolescents’ antisocial behavior and youths’ friendships. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Community Psychology at Yale University.

Benson, M., Buehler, C., & Gerard, J. M. (2008). Interparental hostility and early adolescent problem behavior: Spillover via maternal acceptance, harshness, inconsistency, and intrusiveness. Journal of Early Adolescence, 28, 428-454.

To explore the link between interparental hostility and adolescent problem behaviors, the current study examines four important maternal parenting dimensions as potential mediators: acceptance, harshness, inconsistency, and psychological intrusiveness. With a primary sample of 1,893 sixth-grade students, the measures included adolescent and teacher reports. Structural equation modeling revealed that each parenting construct partially mediated both internalizing and externalizing adolescent problems. Harshness was the strongest mediator for adolescent externalizing. Psychological intrusiveness and low maternal acceptance were the strongest mediators for adolescent internalizing. Inconsistency linked similarly to both internalizing and externalizing. Stronger linkages were found in families with married parents compared to those with divorced parents, but overall the patterns were similar. Youth gender and ethnic differences in the spillover processes were minimal. The findings provide a process model for understanding interparental conflict and adolescent problems.

Co-researcher update: Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Ghazarian, S., & Buehler, C. Interparental Conflict and Academic Achievement: An Examination of Mediating and Moderating Factors. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. Appeared online in 2008.

Using a risk and resiliency theoretical framework, the association between interparental conflict and academic achievement was examined. The sample consisted of 2,297 6th grade youth with a mean age of 11.92. Participants were mostly European American (81.8%) and 52% were girls. Results demonstrated that interparental conflict is a risk factor for lower academic achievement, suggesting that family interactions play a significant role in how youth perform in the academic setting. Youth self-blame acted as a significant mediator, providing some explanation for how interparental conflict affects academic achievement. Maternal acceptance and monitoring knowledge partially buffered the association between interparental conflict and youth self-blame. Additionally, the positive association between interparental conflict and perceived threat was stronger for youth who perceived relationships with mothers as more supportive, connected, and involved. Results from this study underscore the need for continued focus on the link between family and school environments with respect to youth developmental outcomes.

Co-researcher Update: Sharon Ghazarian studied with Dr. Andrew Supple in his work on adolescent development in immigrant families. She and I shared an interest in youths’ academic achievement and she analyzed FLP data to examine the marital and parenting influences on grades during middle school. Sharon currently is completing a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University.

Adamsons, K., & Buehler, C. (2007). Mothering v. fathering v. parenting: Measurement equivalence in parenting measures. Parenting: Science and Practice, 7, 271-303.

Co-researcher Upate: Kari Adamsons already was in residence when I arrived at UNCG in 2003. She studied fathering with Dr. Kay Pasley (who is now at FSU). Kari was my research assistant for two years and used the FLP data to assess the measurement equivalence of common parenting measures for mothers and fathers. Kari had a postdoctoral fellowship in the Center for Youth, Family, and Community partnerships at UNCG and currently is an Assistant Professor in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut

Franck, K. L., & Buehler, C. (2007). A family process model of marital hostility, parental depressive affect and early adolescent problem behavior: The roles of triangulation and parental warmth. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 614-625.

This study examined adolescents’ emotional reactivity to parents’ marital conflict as a mediator of the association between triangulation and adolescents’ internalizing problems in a sample of 2-parent families (N=426). Four waves of annual, multiple-informant data were analyzed (youth 11-15 years). The authors used structural equation modeling and found that triangulation was associated with increases in adolescents’ internalizing problems, controlling for marital hostility and adolescent externalizing problems. There also was an indirect pathway from triangulation to internalizing problems across time through youths’ emotional reactivity. Moderating analyses indicated that the 2nd half of the pathway, the association between emotional reactivity and increased internalizing problems, characterized youth with lower levels of hopefulness and attachment to parents. The findings help detail why triangulation is a risk factor for adolescents’ development and which youth will profit most from interventions focused on emotional regulation.

Co-researcher Update: Karen Franck studied with me for 6 years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and then stayed on as a Postdoctoral Fellow coordinating the Family Life Project. She currently is a Research Associate in the department of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Tennessee.

Buehler, C. (2006). Parents and peers in relation to early adolescent problem behavior. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68, 109-124.

Concurrent and prospective associations between parent-youth dyadic hostility and adolescent externalizing and internalizing problem behavior were examined in a sample of 416 families. Parenting control, parents' well-being, and youths' affiliation with deviant peers were included as integral covariates. Information from multiple sources was analyzed using structural equation modeling. Concurrently, youth externalizing problems were associated with dyadic hostility, deviant peers, inadequate parenting control, and fathers' well-being (inversely). Internalizing problems were associated with inadequate parenting control and lower levels of fathers' well-being. Prospectively, some of these relations continued over 2 years, with a few new associations emerging. A process model is proposed in which parent-youth dyadic hostility during early adolescence influences parenting, peer relations, and parents' well-being over time.

Buehler, C., Benson, M., & Gerard, J. M. (2006). Interparental hostility and early adolescent problem behavior: The mediating role of specific aspects of parenting. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 16, 265-292.

This study examines how parenting helps explain the contemporaneous association between interparental hostility and adolescent problem behavior. A theoretical model of spillover was tested specifying five aspects of mothers' and fathers' parenting that might be associated with parents' hostile interactions with one another: harshness, inconsistency, psychological intrusiveness, and lower levels of acceptance and monitoring knowledge. The sample consisted of 416 early adolescents and their married parents. The association between interparental hostility and adolescent externalizing problems was mediated uniquely by fathers' and mothers' harshness, lower levels of fathers' monitoring knowledge, and mothers' psychological intrusiveness. The association between interparental hostility and adolescent internalizing was mediated uniquely by mothers' harshness, psychological intrusiveness, and lower levels of acceptance. These patterns were similar for sons and daughters.

Co-researcher update: Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Gerard, J. M., Krishnakumar, A., & Buehler, C. (2006). Marital conflict, parent-child relations, and youth maladjustment: A longitudinal investigation of spillover effects. Journal of Family Issues, 27, 951- 975.

Contemporaneous and longitudinal associations among marital conflict, parent-child relationship quality, and youth maladjustment were examined using data from the National Survey of Families and Households. Analyses were based on 551 married families with a child age 5 to 11 years at Wave 1. The concurrent association between marital conflict and youth externalizing problems at both waves was mediated completely at Wave 1 and partially at Wave 2 by harsh discipline and parent-youth conflict. The concurrent association between marital conflict and internalizing problems at both waves was mediated partially through parent-youth conflict. Longitudinal mediating effects were detected through stable marital conflict over 5 years and through its connection with parent-youth conflict. Findings delineate areas of specificity and stability in marital conflict processes as children transition from middle childhood through adolescence.

Co-researcher Update: Ambika Krishnakumar studied with me for five years and then was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Maureen Black in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland. She currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Gerard, J. M., Buehler, C., Franck, K. L., &  Anderson, O. (2005). In the eye of the beholder: Cognitive appraisers as mediators of the association between interparental conflict and youth maladjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 19, 376-384.

Although the association between interparental conflict and youth maladjustment has been established, processes underlying this relationship are less understood. In this investigation, children's conflict appraisals were examined as mediating variables. In Study 1, 1,893 6th graders reported their perceptions of conflict and appraisals of threat and self-blame. Youth and teachers reported on externalizing and internalizing problems. In Study 2, 416 married parents from the larger sample reported their conflict and youth maladjustment. Children's appraisals of coping efficacy also were examined. Perceived threat, self-blame, and coping efficacy were salient mediators of overt conflict and triangulation, particularly for internalizing problems. Findings indicate that children's beliefs about interparental conflict play an important role in their adjustment to this family stressor.

Co-researcher Update: Karen Franck studied with me for 6 years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and then stayed on as a Postdoctoral Fellow coordinating the Family Life Project. She currently is a Research Associate in the department of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Tennessee.

Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Krishnakumar, A., Buehler, C., & Barber, B. K. (2003). Youth perceptions of interparental conflict, ineffective parenting, and youth problem behaviors in European American and African American families. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 20(2), 239-260.

The purpose of this study was to examine the spillover of youth perceptions of interparental conflict (IPC) into ineffective parenting and youth problem behaviors in a sample of 542 European-American (EA) and 150 African-American (AA) youth. Data were collected from youth aged 10 through 18 years using a school-based survey. The findings indicated that IPC was associated positively with youth problem behaviors in both European-American and African-American samples. For EA families, IPC was linked with youth externalizing problem behaviors through lower levels of parental monitoring, maternal acceptance, and higher levels of parent–youth conflict, and with internalizing problem behaviors through higher levels of maternal psychological control and parent–youth conflict. Although IPC was associated with higher levels of parent–youth conflict and maternal psychological control and lower levels of parental monitoring in AA families, the spillover model received minimal support because parenting measures were not associated systematically with youth problem behaviors.

Co-researcher Update: Ambika Krishnakumar studied with me for five years and then was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Maureen Black in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland. She currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Buehler, C., & Gerard, J. (2002). Marital conflict, ineffective parenting, and children’s and adolescent’s maladjustment. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 64, 78-92.

Data from the 1988 National Survey on Families and Households were analyzed to examine the associations among marital conflict, ineffective parenting, and children's and adolescents' maladjustment. Parents' use of harsh discipline and low parental involvement helped explain the connection between marital conflict and children's maladjustment in children aged 2 through 11. Parent-child conflict was measured only in families with a target teenager and also was a significant mediator. Although ineffective parenting explained part of the association between marital conflict and children's maladjustment, independent effects of marital conflict remained in families with target children aged 2 through 11 (but not for families with a teenager). With a few exceptions, this pattern of findings was consistent for mothers' and fathers' reports, for daughters and sons, for families with various ethnic backgrounds, and for families living in and out of poverty.

Co-researcher update: Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Krishnakumar, A., & Buehler, C. (2000). Interparental conflict and parenting practices: A meta-analytic review. Family Relations, 49, 25-44.

The purpose of this study is to examine the association between interparental conflict and parenting using meta-analytic review techniques. One-hundred and thirty-eight effect sizes from 39 studies are analyzed. The overall average weighted effect size is -.62, indicating a moderate association and support for the spillover hypothesis. The parenting behaviors most impacted by interparental conflict are harsh discipline and parental acceptance. Several moderating effects for subject and method characteristics are significant.

Co-researcher Update: Ambika Krishnakumar studied with me for five years and then was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Maureen Black in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland. She currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Buehler, C., Krishnakumar, A., Stone, G., Anthony, C., Pemberton, S., Gerard, J., & Barber, B. K. (1998). Interparental conflict styles and youth problem behavior: A two-sample replication study. Journal  of Marriage and the Family, 60, 119-132.

We examine the association between interparental conflict and youth internalizing and externalizing problem behaviors. Youth perceptions of three interparental conflict variables are studied: frequency of disagreement, parents ' use of an overt conflict style, and parents' use of a covert conflict style. Data are from two samples of youth from Tennessee and Utah. Interparental conflict variables account for over 20% of the variance in youth problem behaviors, and hostile conflict styles are more strongly associated with problem behavior than is the frequency of disagreement. The results are fairly consistent for sons and daughters, preadolescent and early adolescent youth, youth in nondivorced and divorced (mother-custody) families, poor and less-poor youth, and Mormon and non-Mormon youth.

Co-researcher Update: Ambika Krishnakumar studied with me for five years and then was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Maureen Black in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland. She currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Gaye Stone studied with me for four years and currently is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Chattanooga, TN.

Buehler, C., Anthony, C., Krishnakumar, A., Stone, G., Gerard, J., & Pemberton, S. (1997). Interparental conflict and youth problem behaviors: A meta-analysis. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 6, 233-247.

We examined the proposition that interparental conflict is associated with internalizing and externalizing problems in youth ages 5 to 18. This examination was done by conducting a meta-analysis of 348 statistical effects from 68 studies. The average effect size (d-value) was .32. There was considerable variability among effect sizes and this variability was associated with the average time since separation for separated/divorced parents, the socioeconomic status composition of the sample, and average parental education in the sample. The variability among effect sizes also was associated with the source of the informant used to assess interparental conflict and youth problem behaviors. Surprisingly, many of the other study characteristics we coded were not associated with variability in the effect sizes.

Co-researcher Update: Ambika Krishnakumar studied with me for five years and then was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Maureen Black in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland. She currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Gaye Stone studied with me for four years and currently is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Chattanooga, TN.

Buehler, C., Krishnakumar, A., Anthony, C., Tittsworth, S., Stone, G.  (1994). Hostile interparental conflict and youth maladjustment.  Family Relations, 43, 409-416.

The association between hostile interparental conflict and youth maladjustment is examined in this article. Based on the re-view of literature, it is suggested that the effects of a hostile interparental conflict style on youth maladjustment are more indirect than direct. Three important mediating factors are: parenting behaviors, parents' depression, and youth's perceptions and appraisals of their parents' interactions. Practical implications of each explanation are suggested.

Co-researcher Update: Ambika Krishnakumar studied with me for five years and then was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Maureen Black in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland. She currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Gaye Stone studied with me for four years and currently is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Chattanooga, TN.

Buehler, C., & Legg, B.H. (1992). Selected aspects of parenting and children's social competence post-separation: The moderating effects of child's sex, age, and family economic hardship. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 18(3/4), 177-195.

The purpose of this study was to assess the moderating effects of child's sex, ace, and family economic hardship on the relationship between (a) residential mother's parenting and frequency of nonresidential father's visitation, and (b) child social competence following marital separation. Dimensions of mother's parenting included loss of time spent with the child since separation, mother's current levels of companionship and coercion, and daily involvement in meaningful activities with the child. Dimensions of children's social competence included dependency, aggression, anxiety/ withdrawal, and productivity. The results indicated that the relationships among mother's parenting, father's visitation, and children's social competence are fairly consistent, regardless of child's age, sex, or level of family economic hardship. The few exceptions are noted and intervention implications are discussed.

Buehler, C., & Trotter, B. B.  (1990). Nonresidential and residential parents' perceptions of the former spouse relationship and children's social competence following marital separation:  Theory and programmed intervention. Family Relations, 39, 395-404.

The purposes of this study are (a) to examine the relationships among dimensions of the former spouse relationship and children's social competence (CSC) post-separation using data collected from nonresidential and residential separated parents, and (b) to examine the impact of a community-based, educational prevention program for divorcing parents on the quality of the former spouse relationship. The sample consisted of 193 separated and divorcing parents identified through court records- 113 program participants and 80 nonparticipants. Using conflict theory to conceptualize the former spouse relationship, coparental conflict, competition, and cooperation were considered distinct dimensions. The results indicate that coparental competition is related more strongly to CSC than is conflict or cooperation. Importantly, the relationships among the coparental and CSC variables are much stronger for nonresidential than residential parents. Finally, the analysis of pre to post prevention program change scores indicates that there is a greater trend toward decreased coparental competition reported by the residential parent participants compared to the nonparticipants but the trend is not statistically significant. No other group effects are found.

Buehler, C. (1988). The social and emotional well‑being of divorced residential parents.  Sex Roles, 18, 247-257.

Social and emotional well-being of 141 divorced mothers and 36 and divorced fathers were examined. All parents had children living in their households. There were no differences between mothers’ and fathers’ reports of psychosomatic  symptomatology, life satisfaction, life-area rankings, family cooperation, social support from relatives, and satisfaction with the contact with their former spouses. Mothers reported more health improvements since the divorce and higher levels of family esteem than fathers did. These findings are discussed in relation to the expectations associated with and the enactment of social and familial roles.

Ethnicity

Gerard, J. M., & Buehler, C. (2004). Cumulative environmental risk and youth maladjustment: The role of youth attributes. Child Development, 75,(6), 1832-1849

Using data from 5,070 youth ages 11 to 18 years old who participated in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, concurrent and longitudinal associations among cumulative risk, protective factors, and youth maladjustment were examined. Cumulative risk was associated with concurrent conduct problems and depressed mood. For conduct problems, a compensatory effect was found for scholastic achievement and problem-solving ability. For depressed mood, a compensatory effect was found for scholastic achievement. A protective-reactive effect of self-esteem was found for both forms of maladjustment. Youth gender, grade, and ethnicity moderated these associations. Cumulative risk predicted change over time in depressed mood. Scholastic achievement and self-esteem compensated for this risk. Findings indicate that youth attributes offer limited protection when adolescents experience risk factors across life domains.

Co-researcher update: Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Gerard, J. M., & Buehler, C. (2004). Cumulative environmental risk and youth problem behaviors. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(3), 702-720.

Using data from Wave 1 (n = 5,070) and Wave 2 (n = 4,404) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we examined the relationship between cumulative risk exposure and youth problem behavior. Cross-sectional analyses revealed a positive, linear association between cumulative risk and problem behaviors. The association between cumulative risk and externalizing problems was stronger for White youth than for Black youth. The association between cumulative risk and internalizing problems was stronger for girls than for boys, and stronger for White youth than for Black and Hispanic youth. Cumulative risk predicted change over time in internalizing problems. Findings support the theoretical notion that adolescents experience diminished psychological comfort when risk factors are present across several social domains.

Co-researcher update: Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Krishnakumar, A., Buehler, C., & Barber, B. K. (2004). Cross-ethnic equivalence of socialization measures in African American and European American families. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(3), 809-820.

We examined the cross-ethnic equivalency of socialization measures developed primarily with European American families. Four aspects of measurement equivalence were assessed: conceptual, operational, scalar, and functional. Evidence of between-and within-group measurement equivalency of socialization measures was derived from youth reports of 500 European American and 134 African American individuals ages 10 to 18, using confirmatory factor analyses and item response theory analyses. Findings indicate that most individual indicators of socialization, with the exception of paternal psychological control and parent-youth conflict, demonstrated cross-ethnic equivalence. The findings also suggest that lax control is better represented as a multidimensional construct (leniency and laxness).

Co-researcher Update: Ambika Krishnakumar studied with me for five years and then was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Maureen Black in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland. She currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Krishnakumar, A., Buehler, C., & Barber, B. K. (2003). Youth perceptions of interparental conflict, ineffective parenting, and youth problem behaviors in European American and African American families. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 20(2), 239-260.

The purpose of this study was to examine the spillover of youth perceptions of interparental conflict (IPC) into ineffective parenting and youth problem behaviors in a sample of 542 European-American (EA) and 150 African-American (AA) youth. Data were collected from youth aged 10 through 18 years using a school-based survey. The findings indicated that IPC was associated positively with youth problem behaviors in both European-American and African-American samples. For EA families, IPC was linked with youth externalizing problem behaviors through lower levels of parental monitoring, maternal acceptance, and higher levels of parent–youth conflict, and with internalizing problem behaviors through higher levels of maternal psychological control and parent–youth conflict. Although IPC was associated with higher levels of parent–youth conflict and maternal psychological control and lower levels of parental monitoring in AA families, the spillover model received minimal support because parenting measures were not associated systematically with youth problem behaviors.

Co-researcher Update: Ambika Krishnakumar studied with me for five years and then was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Maureen Black in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland. She currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Family Stress

Franck, K. L., & Buehler, C. (2007). A family process model of marital hostility, parental depressive affect and early adolescent problem behavior: The roles of triangulation and parental warmth. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 614-625.

This study examined adolescents’ emotional reactivity to parents’ marital conflict as a mediator of the association between triangulation and adolescents’ internalizing problems in a sample of 2-parent families (N=426). Four waves of annual, multiple-informant data were analyzed (youth 11-15 years). The authors used structural equation modeling and found that triangulation was associated with increases in adolescents’ internalizing problems, controlling for marital hostility and adolescent externalizing problems. There also was an indirect pathway from triangulation to internalizing problems across time through youths’ emotional reactivity. Moderating analyses indicated that the 2nd half of the pathway, the association between emotional reactivity and increased internalizing problems, characterized youth with lower levels of hopefulness and attachment to parents. The findings help detail why triangulation is a risk factor for adolescents’ development and which youth will profit most from interventions focused on emotional regulation

Co-researcher Update: Karen Franck studied with me for 6 years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and then stayed on as a Postdoctoral Fellow coordinating the Family Life Project. She currently is a Research Associate in the department of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Tennessee.

Gerard, J. M., Krishnakumar, A., & Buehler, C. (2006). Marital conflict, parent-child relations, and youth maladjustment: A longitudinal investigation of spillover effects. Journal of Family Issues, 27, 951- 975.

Contemporaneous and longitudinal associations among marital conflict, parent-child relationship quality, and youth maladjustment were examined using data from the National Survey of Families and Households. Analyses were based on 551 married families with a child age 5 to 11 years at Wave 1. The concurrent association between marital conflict and youth externalizing problems at both waves was mediated completely at Wave 1 and partially at Wave 2 by harsh discipline and parent-youth conflict. The concurrent association between marital conflict and internalizing problems at both waves was mediated partially through parent-youth conflict. Longitudinal mediating effects were detected through stable marital conflict over 5 years and through its connection with parent-youth conflict. Findings delineate areas of specificity and stability in marital conflict processes as children transition from middle childhood through adolescence.

Co-researcher Update: Ambika Krishnakumar studied with me for five years and then was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Maureen Black in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland. She currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Krishnakumar, A., Buehler, C., & Barber, B. K. (2004). Cross-ethnic equivalence of socialization measures in African American and European American families. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(3), 809-820.

We examined the cross-ethnic equivalency of socialization measures developed primarily with European American families. Four aspects of measurement equivalence were assessed: conceptual, operational, scalar, and functional. Evidence of between-and within-group measurement equivalency of socialization measures was derived from youth reports of 500 European American and 134 African American individuals ages 10 to 18, using confirmatory factor analyses and item response theory analyses. Findings indicate that most individual indicators of socialization, with the exception of paternal psychological control and parent-youth conflict, demonstrated cross-ethnic equivalence. The findings also suggest that lax control is better represented as a multidimensional construct (leniency and laxness).

Co-researcher Update: Ambika Krishnakumar studied with me for five years and then was a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Maureen Black in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland. She currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Gerard, J. G., & Buehler, C. (1999). Multiple risk factors in the family environment and youth problem behaviors. Journal of Marriage and Family, 61, 343-361.

We test three risk models (independent-additive, interactive, and exponential) to examine how multiple risk factors in the family environment-overt interparental conflict, poor parenting, and economic hardship-operate conjointly to predict youth problem behaviors. The sample includes 335 preadolescent and early adolescent youth. Findings from this study support the pattern of independent, additive effects of individual family stressors. We found no support for the idea that the effects of poor parenting, overt interparental conflict, and family economic hardship exacerbate one another, nor did the converse serve as buffers. The independent, additive model explains more variance in externalizing problem behavior for youth in nondivorced, two-parent households. Poor parenting is the strongest risk factor. Economic hardship is the only significant risk factor for youth internalizing problem behavior.

Co-researcher update: Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Barber, B.K., & Buehler, C. (1996).  Family cohesion and enmeshment: Different constructs, different effects. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 433-441.

Some past conceptualizations in family research have synthesized the constructs of family cohesion and enmeshment by placing enmeshment at the high extreme end of cohesion. In this article, we argue that, theoretically, the 2 are different constructs-cohesion is a measure of supportive interaction, and enmeshment is a measure of psychological control. We examine this hypothesis by testing the associations between adolescent reports of family cohesion and enmeshment and several measures of adolescent problem behaviors using a sample of 471 students in preadolescence and early and middle adolescence from a suburb of a city in the South. Results show that cohesion is associated negatively with both internalizing and externalizing adolescent problem behaviors. Enmeshment is related positively with youth problems, and more strongly with internalizing problems. Furthermore, different patterns of interaction emerge among the 2 family variables and the adolescents' grade in school and sex.

Buehler, C., & Gerard, J. M.  (1995). Divorce law in the United States: A focus on child custody.  Family Relations, 44, 439-458.

In this article, we review important legal issues related to child custody decision making during and following divorce, and also abstract relevant information from the 50 states and District of Columbia. We discuss the best interests of the child (BIOC) standard and intermediate rules that can be or are used to define best interests. We also discuss the legal standing of third par-ties litigating with natural parents; the rights and responsibilities of noncustodial parents, grandparents, and stepparents; and the role of alternative dispute resolution forums and professionals other than judges in the decision-making process.

Co-researcher update: Jean Gerard studied with me for six years, earning both a M.S. and Ph.D., and currently is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Syracuse University.

Paden, S. L., & Buehler, C.  (1995). Coping with the dual-income lifestyle.  Journal of Marriage and the Family.  57, 101-110.

The direct and moderating effects of coping mechanisms used by 314 spouses in dual-income marriages were examined. The dependent construct was individual well-being, which included measures of emotional affect and physical symptomatology. Five coping mechanisms were examined: planning, talking, withdrawing, cognitive restructuring, and limiting job responsibilities. The direct effects of coping on well-being were minimal. However, coping moderated several effects of role conflict and role overload on spouse’s well-being. Planning and cognitive restructuring were significant buffering mechanisms for wives. Restructuring and withdrawing were important buffering mechanisms for husbands. Contrary to the hypothesis, seeking support through talking exacerbated the relationship between husband’s role overload and positive affect.

Ihinger-Tallman, M.I., Pasley, B.K., & Buehler, C. (1993). Developing a middle-range theory of father involvement postdivorce.  Journal of Family Issues, 14, 550-571.

The problem addressed in the article is why so many fathers remove themselves from their children's lives after divorce. The authors develop a theory that offers a partial explanation of this phenomena based on the potential for change in the salience of a man's identity as a father postdivorce. Propositions are developed and hypotheses are derived from symbolic interaction and identity theory. The authors define and interrelate the concepts of identity, saliency, commitment, and significant others to explain father presence or absence postdivorce across time. The theory further isolates a number of variables that are expected to moderate (strengthen or weaken) the relationship >between father parenting-role identity and father involvement. Identifying modifiers enables the authors to stipulate why some fathers are more involved with their children following separation by explaining the conditions under which father identity becomes translated into a patterned set of behaviors.