A Systematic Review of the Effects of Family Conflict: Focusing on Divorce, Infidelity, and Attachment Style

Citation data:

Social Work Master's Clinical Research Papers

Publication Year:
2015
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Repository URL:
https://sophia.stkate.edu/msw_papers/426; https://ir.stthomas.edu/ssw_mstrp/422; https://sophia.stkate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1428&context=msw_papers
Author(s):
Borst, Jacob B.
Publisher(s):
UST Research Online
Tags:
family conflict; attachment; adult attachment; divorce; infidelity; systematic review; Social Work; Clinical and Medical Social Work; CLIC thesis
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paper description
In this systematic review, I explored the topic of family conflict, focusing on the conflicts of infidelity and divorce, and how these conflicts affect attachment style. The literature review provided information showing that family conflicts may increase the likelihood of children committing at-risk behaviors, have negative impacts on attachment style, and may even influence the success of future relationships. Positive outcomes can also occur from family conflict such as leaving an abusive environment or gaining secure attachment figures such as a stable stepparent. A focused literature search found 25 articles and two books that provided information regarding the effects of family conflict in this area. This research showed that trust and stable friendships during conflict impact attachment style and mitigate against the potentially negative effects of family conflict. Another theme found throughout the research was that there are generational patterns of conflict and that children often learn their behaviors from the generations before. The research supported the theme that attachment style can change over time and that when conflict arises it is important to develop effective repair techniques when communicating with others such as romantic partners or children involved in the family conflict. Lastly, children and adults can be highly adaptive and resilient when experiencing family conflicts and that strength may decrease negative implications such as higher likelihood of relational struggles and patterns of negative conflict.