Prior studies evaluating associations between parental affect and parenting behavior have typically focused on either mothers or fathers despite evidence suggesting that affect and parenting behavior may be interdependent among couples. This study addressed this gap in the literature by evaluating associations between self-reported affect and parenting behavior using an actor-partner interdependence analysis among a sample of 53 mother-father dyads of 3- to 5-year-old children. Results suggested that mothers' and fathers' negative affect, as well as mothers' and fathers' positive affect, were positively associated. Both mothers' and fathers' negative affect were negatively associated with fathers' positive affect. Mothers' and fathers' harsh/negative parenting behavior, and supportive/engaged parenting behavior, were positively associated. Furthermore, mothers' negative affect was positively associated with mothers' and fathers' harsh/negative parenting behavior while mothers' positive affect was negatively associated with mothers' harsh/negative behavior and positively associated with mothers' supportive/engaged behavior. Fathers' negative affect was positively associated with fathers' supportive/engaged parenting behavior, while fathers' positive affect was positively associated with mothers' and fathers' supportive/engaged behavior. Results highlight the importance of conceptualizing and measuring characteristics of both mothers and fathers, if applicable, when researching the dynamics of interpersonal relationships within families.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)