The impact of interparental conflict: a review
Updated review and programme on the impact of interparental conflict
Conflict between parents can have a profound impact on children’s wellbeing. OnePlusOne researchers and research consultants Jenny Reynolds and Professor Gordon Harold have summarized what is known about how conflict between parents can affect children’s well-being; and the latest evidence on interventions to tackle this.
These interventions take different approaches and vary in content and goals, including:
- improving parenting with an additional emphasis on improving couple relationships
- taking a wider aim of improving general family functioning, particularly at times of key transitions, such as new parenthood
- focusing specifically on aspects of conflict within the couple relationship (either for separating couples or those still in a relationship)
- taking an earlier preventative approach before problems arise, by strengthening the couple relationship through the provision of general relationship education and training in interpersonal skills
This information on interparental conflict will be released in a forthcoming publication for practitioners and family workers. The aim is to increase understanding of how and why children can be affected by conflict between parents and what can be done to help support families experiencing such conflict.
This review will build on an earlier OnePlusOne publication, ‘Not in front of the children?: How conflict between parents affects children’ (Reynolds, 2001), with a particular focus placed on research findings in the last 10 years.
Findings from the review will also be used to develop a stand-alone training module for practitioners that enhances the original OnePlusOne training module, ‘My Mum and Dad Argue a lot’. Evaluation of ‘My Mum and Dad Argue a lot’ found that practitioners valued the knowledge and insight they gained about parental conflict as a result of the training, but were keen to receive more skills guidance on how to actively support parents caught up in conflict.
This project is designed to address that need through a formative evaluation of an innovative blended learning programme (online and face-to-face) for practitioners on managing conflict in intact relationships.