Interparental conflict spillover from adolescence to emerging adult romantic conflict

The intergenerational origins of emerging adult dating violence have been explored through many perspectives, but explanations have failed to account for the influential roles of multiple members of the family. Structural equation models explored whether the relationship between exposure to marital discord in adolescence and couple dating violence in emerging adulthood was mediated by (a) harsh parenting (i.e., maternal and paternal) in late adolescence and (b) emotional adjustment in emerging adulthood (i.e., internalizing and externalizing). Participants included 206 parents and emerging adults (60% female, Mage =22.38 years, SD =0.72) recruited when youth were in 7th grade. Across time, father- and mother-initiated violence predicted more maternal and paternal harsh parenting, respectively. Earlier maternal harsh behavior predicted later youth internalizing and externalizing. Mother-adolescent harshness and youth externalizing mediated the relationship between father’s marital violence and youth dating violence. Implications of these findings for clinical interventions and policy are discussed.