Inter-parent aggression as a precursor to disengagement coping in emerging adulthood: The buffering role of friendship competence


Using multi-informant data drawn from a prospective study involving 184 youth, mother-perpetrated and father-perpetrated partner aggression during early adolescence (the age of 13) was examined as a predictor of five types of disengagement coping strategies in emerging adulthood (the age of 21): behavioral disengagement, mental disengagement, denial, substance use, and restraint. The ability to develop close friendships, or friendship competence, was examined as a moderator of these links. Results suggest that inter-parent aggression in early adolescence can predict reliance on disengagement coping 8 years later, but that friendship competence can buffer against the reliance on disengagement coping. Moreover, close friendship competence was not directly related to partner aggression by mothers or fathers, suggesting that friendship competence develops along an independent developmental track and thus may truly serve as a buffer for young adults with a history of exposure to inter-parent aggression.

Social Development