Children's Reactions to Marital Conflict in Israel and in the United States

H Shamir, EM Cummings, PT Davies, MC Goeke-Morey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective. Gaps in cross-cultural study limit understanding of whether effects of marital discord on children are culturally universal. Design. Israeli (39 boys; 40 girls) and U.S. (97 boys; 118 girls) kindergarteners responded to analog presentations of resolved and unresolved marital conflicts. Results. Children reacted negatively to marital conflict across cultures and were sensitive to the topics of conflict, whether or not it was escalating and whether or not conflict was resolved. Modest differences in responding also emerged: U.S. children reported more happiness for resolved conflicts and more distressed emotions and coping responses to unresolved conflicts. Moreover, only the expectations of U.S. children about future marital relations were affected by resolution. Conclusions. The evidence mostly supported similarities between the United States and Israel with regard to children's responding to conflicts, extending findings based on extensive research in the U.S.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberPII 785828835
Pages (from-to)371-386
Number of pages16
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Preparation of this article was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (MH57318) to Patrick T. Davies and E. Mark Cummings.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2005, Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


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