Parenting style, parental adjustment, and co-parental conflict: Differential predictors of child psychosocial adjustment following divorce.


Parents’ adjustment, co-parenting conflict, and parenting style are often intervention targets for parents following divorce. However, little is known about how these three aspects together relate to child outcomes. The aim of this study was to examine how parent adjustment (distress and anger), parenting conflict, and parenting style (laxness and over-reactivity) predict child internalising, externalising, and prosocial behaviours. Participants were a community sample of 109 divorced parents with a child aged 4-17 years. Results showed that increased parental distress and co-parent conflict predicted increased child emotional and behavioural problems; and increased lax parenting also predicted increased externalising behaviour problems. However, greater prosocial behaviour was predicted only by lower lax parenting. The results highlight the differential impact of parenting factors on child outcomes following divorce and have implications for the content and tailoring of interventions for divorced parents.