Cross-day influences between couple closeness and coparenting support among new parents

Yunying Le, Steffany J. Fredman, Brandon T. McDaniel, Jean Philippe Laurenceau, Mark E. Feinberg

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Abstract

The couple and coparenting relationships are demonstrated to be prospectively and bidirectionally associated over months to years during the early parenting years. However, little is known about these associations at the daily level within the first year of parenthood, when coparenting first emerges. The goal of the current study was to examine the association between couples' daily feelings of relationship closeness and coparenting support in first-time parents and determine directionality of these effects using a dyadic daily diary design. At 10 months postpartum, heterosexual couples (N = 141 dyads) completed daily diaries for 8 consecutive days. An autoregressive cross-lagged model was incorporated within an Actor Partner Interdependence Modeling framework to examine at the daily level: (a) within-person cross-day associations between relationship closeness and coparenting support, (b) cross-partner crossday associations within relationship closeness and coparenting support, (c) cross-partner cross-day associations between relationship closeness and coparenting support, and (d) gender differences in these associations. Results revealed a prospective, within person bidirectional link between daily relationship closeness and perceived coparenting support for both mothers and fathers. Additionally, an indirect effect from mothers' experiences of coparenting support to fathers' relationship closeness through fathers' experiences of coparenting support was found at the daily level. Findings highlight the interdependent nature of the couple and coparenting relationship at the daily level during the first year of parenthood and suggest that mothers' feeling supported by their coparenting partners may facilitate a "virtuous cycle" between coparenting support and relationship closeness early in the coparenting relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)360-369
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2019

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)

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