Dissertação de mestrado integrado em Psicologia (área de especialização em Psicologia Clínica e da Saúde); Coparenting establishment is a new developmental task during the transition to parenthood
with importance to the success of this developmental transition that needs to be better
explored. However, only few studies have investigated (a) coparenting development path
during pregnancy and (b) individual and dyadic processes associated to the positive resolution
of this developmental task in fathers. Addressing these gaps on coparenting investigation, the
aims of the present study are: (1) to analyze coparenting development path in fathers from the
first trimester of pregnancy until childbirth, (2) to explore the effects of individual (depression
and anxiety) and dyadic (partner’s relationship quality) dimensions on coparenting
development path during this period in fathers, (3) to study differences in coparenting
according to fathers’ depression, anxiety and partner’s relationship quality at the first
trimester of pregnancy and (4) to study fathers’ depression, anxiety and partner’s relationship
quality as predictors of coparenting at childbirth. The sample consists in 41 primiparous
fathers. Three assessments were performed with the same measures: 1st and 3rd trimester of
pregnancy and childbirth. A significant decrease in coparenting between the 1st trimester of
pregnancy and childbirth was found. No effects for depression...
This study examined short- and longer-term sequelae of parents’ prenatal expectations of their future family process, and traced subsequent stability in coparenting solidarity from infancy through the toddler years. 110 couples expecting a first child participated in prenatal assessments of coparenting expectations and differences, and in 3 month post-partum evaluations. 45 couples completed subsequent assessments at 12 and 30 months. At each time point multi-method evaluations of coparental adjustment were obtained. Men’s and women’s expectancies during the pregnancy and the degree of difference between their self-reported beliefs about parenting predicted post-baby coparental adjustment, with latent class analyses suggesting aftereffects of prenatal expectancies up through 30 months for some couples. Coparental solidarity was also stable from 3 to 12 and from 12 to 30 months. Data indicate that the lens parents bring to bear on their emerging family system is not immaterial, and that early-emerging coparenting dynamics portend longer term coparenting adjustment.
Driven by theory and extant research on the communication of emotions within the family, the current investigation examined marital quality and parents’ emotional expressiveness as determinants of coparenting in a sample of 57 couples with young children. Specifically, mothers’ and fathers’ expressiveness was examined as moderators of the association between marital quality and coparenting behavior. Though negative expressiveness did not emerge as a significant predictor of coparenting when considered in conjunction with marital quality, parents’ positive expressiveness made unique and interactive contributions to coparenting. Thus, it appears that positive expressiveness, especially fathers’, may be beneficial to family functioning. Positively expressive husbands protected couples from negative coparenting interactions in the face of less supportive marriages. Couples in distressed marriages may benefit from work with practitioners and family life educators who consider the role that the communication of emotions plays in the context of coparenting.
This study examines early withdrawal in the coparenting system, and the utility of a brief problem-solving discussion about coparenting responsibilities as a means for evaluating such withdrawal. One hundred and fifteen couples were evaluated both prenatally and at 3 months postpartum. During prenatal assessments, parents rated their personalities and completed marital assessments. After the baby arrived, they completed a negotiation task in which they discussed disputes about parenting roles and responsibilities, and interacted together with the baby in a triadic play assessment. Fathers’ but not mothers’ withdrawal during coparenting negotiations was associated with greater disengagement and less warmth during triadic play and with fathers’ feelings that mothers did not respect their parenting. Fathers’ but not mothers’ withdrawal during coparenting negotiations was also forecast by low ego resilience and by an increase in depressive symptomatology during the postpartum. As the negotiation task appeared to be an effective provocateur of withdrawal when confronting coparenting disagreement, it may prove useful for eliciting this aspect of coparental process in work with couples.
Using new methods designed to assess coparenting between incarcerated mothers of preschool-aged children and the maternal grandmothers caring for the children during their absence, we examined relationships between coparenting quality during the mother’s jail stay and both concurrent child behavior problems and later coparenting interactions following mothers’ release and community reentry. Forty mother–grandmother dyads participated in joint coparenting discussions during the incarceration, with a smaller subset completing a parallel activity at home 1 month postrelease. Both women also participated in individual coparenting interviews during the incarceration, and reported on child behavior problems. Mother–grandmother coparenting interactions exhibited an overall structure similar to that documented in nuclear families, with population-specific dynamics also evident. The observational system demonstrated good interrater and internal reliability, and showed associations with maternal (but not grandmother) reports and descriptions of the coparenting relationship via interview. Greater coparenting relationship quality during incarceration was associated with fewer concurrent child externalizing behavior problems, and predicted more positive coparenting interactions postrelease. Findings suggest that the coparenting assessments were useful for under-standing mother–grandmother coparenting relationships in these families and that importantly...
Supportive coparenting after relationship dissolution is associated with increased father involvement which can buffer against the negative effects of parental relationship dissolution. Low-income, at-risk families are much more likely to experience relationship dissolutions; hence, supportive coparenting after dissolution is particularly important in these families. We examined whether relationship (commitment and quality) and child (difficult temperament and gender) characteristics predicted initial levels of, and change in, supportive coparenting after relationship dissolution in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 1,603). We used structural equation modeling of latent growth curves to examine four time points collected at the focal child’s birth and first, third, and fifth birthdays. Ninety-percent of the mothers had nonmarital births, and about three-quarters had a high school diploma or less education. Overall, supportive coparenting decreased over time. Mothers in more committed relationships prior to the dissolution initially had significantly lower supportive coparenting. But over time, mothers who had been in more committed relationships increased in supportive coparenting. Mothers who had been in higher quality relationships prior to dissolution initially reported more supportive coparenting. At each time point...
The way that parents work together in their roles as parents, the coparenting relationship, has been linked to parental adjustment, parenting, and child outcomes. The coparenting relationship offers a potentially modifiable, circumscribed risk factor that could be targeted in family-focused prevention. This paper briefly outlines an integrated and comprehensive view of coparenting, and suggests that the time around the birth of the first child is an opportune moment for coparenting intervention. To support the development of such prevention programs, an outline of the possible goals of coparenting intervention is presented with a description of the processes by which enhanced coparenting may have effects in each area. The paper discusses several issues involved in developing and disseminating effective coparenting interventions.
Research on coparenting has grown over the past decade, supporting a view of coparenting as a central element of family life that influences parental adjustment, parenting, and child outcomes. This article introduces a multi-domain conception of coparenting that organizes existing research and paves the way for future research and intervention. This article advances a conceptualization of how coparenting domains influence parental adjustment, parenting, and child adjustment. An ecological model that outlines influences on coparenting relationships, as well as mediating and moderating pathways, is described. Areas of future research in the developmental course of coparenting relationships are noted.
One-hundred twelve primarily European American and middle-class two-parent families with resident fathers and a 4-year-old child (48% girls) participated in a longitudinal study of associations between coparenting and father involvement. At the initial assessment and one year later, fathers reported on their involvement in play and caregiving activities with the focal child, and coparenting behavior was observed during triadic family interactions. SEM was used to test cross-lagged associations between coparenting behavior and father involvement. Overall, paths from father involvement to coparenting behavior were significant, but paths from coparenting behavior to father involvement were not. Specifically, greater father involvement in play was associated with an increase in supportive and a decrease in undermining coparenting behavior over time. In contrast, greater father involvement in caregiving was associated with a decrease in supportive and an increase in undermining coparenting behavior. Multi-group analysis further showed that these cross-lagged relations did not differ for dual earner families and single (father) earner families, but these relations appeared to differ for families with focal daughters and families with focal sons. These findings highlight the potential for fathering to affect coparenting and the importance of considering the role of contextual factors in coparenting-fathering relations.
Research into anxiety has largely ignored the dynamics of family systems in anxiety development. Coparenting refers to the quality of coordination between individuals responsible for the upbringing of children and links different subsystems within the family, such as the child, the marital relationship, and the parents. This review discusses the potential mechanisms and empirical findings regarding the bidirectional relations of parent and child anxiety with coparenting. The majority of studies point to bidirectional associations between greater coparenting difficulties and higher levels of anxiety. For example, the few available studies suggest that paternal and perhaps maternal anxiety is linked to lower coparental support. Also, research supports the existence of inverse links between coparenting quality and child anxiety. A child’s reactive temperament appears to have adverse effects on particularly coparenting of fathers. A conceptual model is proposed that integrates the role of parental and child anxiety, parenting, and coparenting, to guide future research and the development of clinical interventions. Future research should distinguish between fathers’ and mothers’ coparenting behaviors, include parental anxiety, and investigate the coparental relationship longitudinally. Clinicians should be aware of the reciprocal relations between child anxiety and coparenting quality...
The transition to parenthood can be stressful for new parents, as parents must learn to take on new roles and responsibilities. Sleep disruption—which has been linked in prior research to parent distress and fatigue—is common in the early months. The current study is the first to our knowledge to examine infant sleep and its potential indirect influence on parents’ perceptions of coparenting quality at 1 and 3 months of infant age. Participants included 150 families. Mothers reported more night waking, poorer sleep quality, more depressive symptoms, and worse perceptions of coparenting quality as compared with fathers. We tested a structural model of infant and parent night waking and sleep quality as predictors of parent distress and coparenting using maximum likelihood estimation. The frequency of infant night waking predicted father and mother night waking, which in turn predicted parent sleep quality. Poor parent sleep quality predicted elevated depressive symptoms, and finally depressive symptoms were negatively related to perceptions of coparenting quality. Significant indirect effects between infant night waking and parent depression and coparenting quality were found. In summary, both mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of coparenting were related to the unfolding parental dynamics that take place surrounding infant sleep difficulties. This held true even after controlling for parent education...
Behavioral and emotional problems are common in early childhood and put children at risk for developing more serious problems. This study tested the mediating mechanisms through which a universal coparenting intervention implemented during the transition to parenthood led to reduced child adjustment problems at age 3, and explored child gender as a potential moderator. 169 heterosexual couples expecting their first child were randomly assigned to a control condition or Family Foundations, a series of eight classes that targeted the coparenting relationship. Data were collected through videotaped triadic mother-father-child interaction tasks when the child was 1 and 3 years of age. Separate longitudinal path analyses for mothers and fathers tested coparenting competition and positivity as mediators of program effects on child adjustment problems. Significant mediated effects for coparenting competition were found for fathers with both sons and daughters and for mothers with sons, but not for mothers with daughters. These effects accounted for between 39 and 55% of the intervention’s impact on child adjustment problems. Coparenting positivity did not mediate program effects. These results support the use of a prevention approach to reduce coparenting competition and enhance child adjustment...
The current study examined how aspects of the parenting and coparenting relationships relate to children’s prosocial behavior in early childhood. Fifty-eight two-parent families from a larger ongoing longitudinal study participated in this study. Mothers completed questionnaires that measured their use of inductive reasoning, as well as their children’s prosocial behavior. Furthermore, parents and their children participated in three triadic interaction tasks that were coded to assess cooperative coparenting behavior. Results revealed that cooperative coparenting was positively associated with children’s prosocial behavior. A significant interaction also emerged between maternal inductive reasoning and cooperative coparenting behavior. These findings underscore the important role of a cooperative coparenting subsystem in influencing children’s emerging prosocial behavior, as well as highlight the association between positive parenting practices and children’s prosocial development within the context of cooperative coparenting behaviors. This study demonstrates the utility of understanding family-level processes that contribute to children’s prosocial development during early childhood.
Coparenting, the coordination between adults in their parental roles, contributes to the functioning of multiple family subsystems. The ecological context model of coparenting posits that multiple factors, including contextual, marital and child characteristics, influence coparenting behavior (Feinberg, 2003). To date, coparenting has primarily been considered a between-family construct, and the focus has been on examining the factors that account for differences in coparenting across families. There is very limited research exploring variations in coparenting within-families across contexts. To address this gap, the current study explores whether there is significant within- and between-family variation in coparenting. In addition, family, marital, and child correlates of both within- and between-family variation in coparenting are examined. Fifty-eight two-parent families, drawn from a larger ongoing longitudinal study on children’s emotional development, participated in this study. Parents and their children participated in a laboratory visit when children were 42-months-old that included three triadic family interaction tasks that were coded to assess cooperative and competitive coparenting, as well as child-centered behavior. Additionally...
This study examined associations between supportive coparenting and infant-mother and infant-father attachment security. Observed and parent-reported coparenting, and observed maternal and paternal sensitivity were assessed in a sample of 68 families with 3.5-month-old infants. Infant-mother and infant-father attachment security were assessed in the Strange Situation Procedure (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978) at 12 and 13 months of age, respectively. Observed and reported supportive coparenting were associated with greater attachment security in the infant-father, but not the infant-mother, attachment relationship. The link between observed coparenting and infant-father attachment remained after accounting for paternal sensitivity. Furthermore, child gender moderated some associations between coparenting and infant-parent attachment security. Among families with boys, observed and reported supportive coparenting was related to greater infant-mother and infant-father attachment security, respectively. Coparenting was unrelated to infant-mother or infant-father attachment security among families with girls. Results highlight a possible link between the coparental and father-child relationships and the need to consider both parent and child gender when examining associations between family functioning and attachment.
This study addresses two limitations of coparenting research: first, little research on coparenting has been conducted with families of adolescents, and second, there is little understanding regarding the child and family contexts in which coparenting is most salient. The longitudinal relation of coparenting conflict to parenting and adolescent maladjustment across 3 years was investigated among 516 2-parent, 2-adolescent families. Coparenting conflict predicted as much or more unique variance in parenting and adolescent adjustment as did marital quality and disagreement together. After controlling for stability, coparenting conflict predicted mothers' and fathers' negativity and adolescent antisocial behavior (but not depression). Importantly, the influence of coparenting conflict in all cases varied as a function of family type, adolescent gender, or initial level of antisocial behavior, or all. The implications of these results for family processes in different relational and developmental contexts are discussed.
The contribution of individual (i.e., negative reactivity) and environmental (i.e., coparenting) characteristics in predicting firstborns’ adjustment after a sibling's birth were examined. Mothers, fathers, and firstborn children from 241 families participated in a family freeplay to assess coparenting interactions before the birth of the second child and parents completed questionnaires on children's temperamental characteristics and behavior problems. Children's externalizing problems significantly increased from pre- to post-birth. Children, on average, did not display more internalizing problems following the infant sibling's birth; however, children high in negative reactivity were more sensitive to undermining coparenting behavior and displayed greater internalizing behaviors across the transition to siblinghood. Negatively reactive children also displayed increases in externalizing behavior across the transition to siblinghood when parents showed high levels of undermining coparenting and low levels of supportive coparenting. Supportive coparenting appeared to be a protective factor in the face of this transition for negatively reactive children in families where parents engaged in high levels of undermining coparenting. Findings suggest that both individual and environmental factors play an important role in firstborns’ adjustment to an infant sibling's birth. Parents of temperamentally sensitive children may benefit from participating in workshops geared towards improving coparenting partnerships prior to the birth of the second child.
The current study examined relations between child temperament – specifically, negative emotionality – and parents' supportive and undermining coparenting behavior, and further tested whether marital adjustment moderated relations between child negative affect and coparenting. One-hundred eleven two-parent families with a 4-year old child participated in this study. Parents completed questionnaires to provide information on children's negative affectivity, marital adjustment, and the quality of their coparenting relationships. Furthermore, parents and children participated together in two 10-minute task-oriented interactions that were coded to assess coparenting behavior. As hypothesized, parents of children higher on levels of negative affect demonstrated greater undermining coparenting behavior. In addition, marital adjustment moderated relations between children's negative affect and parents' supportive coparenting behavior. However, contrary to expectations, couples with higher levels of marital adjustment were most vulnerable to effects of child negativity on supportive coparenting. Results suggest that high-quality marital relationships may not buffer the coparenting relationship from the effects of temperamentally difficult preschoolers.
Research on coparenting documents that mothers' and fathers' coordination and mutual support in their parenting roles is linked to their offspring's adjustment in childhood, but we know much less about the coparenting of adolescents. Taking a family systems perspective, this study assessed two dimensions of coparenting, parents' shared decision-making and joint involvement in activities with their adolescents, and examined bidirectional associations between these coparenting dimensions and boys' and girls' risky behaviors and depressive symptoms across four time points (6 years) in adolescence. Participants were 201 mothers, fathers, and adolescents (M = 11.83, SD = .55 years of age at Time 1; 51 % female). Parents of sons shared more decisions, on average, than parents of daughters. On average, shared decision-making followed an inverted U shaped pattern of change, and parents' joint involvement in their adolescents' activities declined. Cross-lagged findings revealed that risky behavior predicted less shared decision-making, and shared decision-making protected against increased risky behavior for boys. For girls and boys, parents' joint involvement predicted fewer risky behaviors, and lower levels of risky behavior predicted higher levels of joint involvement. In contrast...
Based in family systems and ecological perspectives, this study expands the scope of coparenting research by: (a) charting the trajectory of coparenting satisfaction for mothers and fathers in two-parent African American families during their offspring's adolescence, and (b) examining the role of sociocultural stressors and supports for coparenting satisfaction. Participants were 192 African American mothers and fathers who reported on their coparenting satisfaction and both economic and cultural stressors (economic strain and racial discrimination), and supports (socioeconomic resources and religiosity). Longitudinal growth curves revealed declines in coparenting satisfaction for fathers but not mothers over the course of offspring's adolescence. Findings were generally consistent with hypotheses that stressors were negatively, and supports, positively, related to average levels of coparenting satisfaction. Findings for racial discrimination and income differed by parent and highlighted gender dynamics within couple relationships. We discuss implications for understanding of normative family processes in African American families as these unfold within both family and broader sociocultural contexts.