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Discordant Family Relations in Intact Families: Developmental Tendencies over 18 years

Håkan Stattin and Gunnar Klackenberg
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 54, No. 4 (Nov., 1992), pp. 940-956
DOI: 10.2307/353174
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353174
Page Count: 17
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Discordant Family Relations in Intact Families: Developmental Tendencies over 18 years
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Abstract

Descriptive data on the prevalence, temporal stability, and prognostic utility of family disharmony over the childrearing years were analyzed. Subjects were 133 children brought up in two-parent families up to their 18th birthday. They formed part of a longitudinal sample taken for a Swedish birth-to-maturity study. Results showed that the prevalence of disharmonious marital, mother-child, and father-child relations increased as the child grew older. Disharmonious marital and mother-child relations peaked in late childhood, while a gradually increasing developmental trajectory over the time period as a whole was found for disharmonious father-child relations. A sudden increase in the prevalence of disharmonious marital, mother-child, and father-child relations took place at the age of 18 of the child. This is the age when adolescents in Sweden normally prepare to leave home. Relatively high temporal stabilities of family discord between adjacent age periods were obtained, and rather substantial longitudinal stabilities were found, particularly in the case of marital discord. The discussion emphasizes the value of documenting variations in discordant family relations from a long-term perspective for one and the same group of families.

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