Psychology, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 15:3 (2009), pp. 149–167.

doi: 10.1037/a0016839


Copyright © 2009 American Psychological Association. Used by permission.


High levels of family conflict and poor family conflict resolution strategies are often associated with externalizing behaviors in children, including the behavior of bullying. Through family interactions, parents have the opportunity to convey a variety of messages to the child. Some of these messages are sent through the child’s appraisal of procedural justice, which refers to the judgments of fairness directed at the process by which a conflict is resolved. The current study investigated the relationship between appraisals of procedural justice in family conflict resolution and bullying among middle-school students. A sample of 1,910 sixth through eighth graders completed a self-report survey on school violence. Structural equation modeling revealed a significant relationship in which higher appraisals of procedural justice during family conflict resolution were associated with lower frequencies of bullying by the child. Furthermore, this relationship was partially mediated by the internalization of the parent’s conduct during the conflict resolution process. The current study extended the research literature addressing the relevance of procedural justice in child development. Implications of these findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.