The present paper reports on longitudinal associations between parenting stress and sexual satisfaction among 169 heterosexual couples in the first year after the birth of a first child. Actor Partner Interdependence Modeling (APIM) was used to model the effects of the mother’s and father’s parenting stress at 6 months after birth on sexual satisfaction at 1 year after birth. Based on social constructivist theory and scarcity theory, two hypotheses were posed: (a) mothers’ parenting stress will predict their own later sexual satisfaction whereas fathers’ parenting stress will not predict their own later sexual satisfaction (actor effects) and (b) mothers’ parenting stress will predict fathers’ later sexual satisfaction but fathers’ parenting stress will not predict mothers’ later sexual satisfaction (partner effects). On average, parents were only somewhat satisfied with their sex life. The first hypothesis was supported as greater parenting stress significantly predicted lower sexual satisfaction for mothers but not for fathers. The second hypothesis was also supported as mothers’ greater parenting stress significantly predicted less sexual satisfaction in fathers, whereas fathers’ parenting stress did not significantly predict mothers’ sexual satisfaction. We discuss how our results may be interpreted considering the social construction of gendered family roles.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Gender Studies
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology