Evolutionary Theory and Parent-Child Conflict: The Utility of Parent-Offspring Conflict Theory
AuthorSchlomer, Gabriel Lee
AdvisorEllis, Bruce J
Committee ChairEllis, Bruce J
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractParent-offspring conflict theory (POCT) has been underutilized by researchers interested in family relationships. The goal of these three manuscripts is to help remedy this problem.Manuscript one presents POCT in its original formulation and more recent developments. The theory is described and explained and four topical areas of human development are discussed in terms of how POCT has been applied and how the theory can help inform future research.Manuscript two tests hypotheses derived from POCT about mother-adolescent conflict. This study showed that coresidence with a younger half sibling significantly incremented conflict between mothers and their children. This effect was not explained by SES, maternal depression, number of children in the household, or stepfather presence. In addition, children in younger half sibling households demonstrate elevated levels of conflict compared to families with a younger full sibling indicating that this effect is not an artifact of coresidence with a younger sibling. Presence of a younger half sibling also partially mediated the relationship between biological parental disruption and mother-child conflict.Manuscript three sought to extend on the findings from manuscript two by examining how different family contexts affect trajectories of mother-child conflict across adolescence. A piecewise growth model was implemented to estimate linear conflict trajectories from early to mid and from mid to late adolescence. Results indicated that conflict tends to increase from early to mid adolescence but remain constant from mid to late adolescence, that biological parental disruption did not differentiate trajectories of conflict, nor did living with a stepfather. In addition, despite a large difference in regression coefficients between families with and without a younger half sibling, younger half sibling status did not differentiate conflict trajectories from early to mid adolescence. Families did differ in their trajectories from mid to late adolescence with younger half sibling families showing a reduction in conflict over this time period. Inclusion of family level covariates effectively nullified all significant results. Results are discussed in the context of parent-offspring conflict theory. It is concluded that a larger sample with more diverse family types is needed to achieve sufficient power for additional analyses and future research.
Degree ProgramFamily & Consumer Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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