The Effect of the Transition to Parenthood on Relationship Quality: An 8-Year Prospective Study

Brian Doss, Galena K. Rhoades, Scott M. Stanley, Howard J. Markman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

278 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This longitudinal study examined the effect of the birth of the 1st child on relationship functioning using data from 218 couples (436 individuals) over the course of the first 8 years of marriage. Compared with prebirth levels and trajectories, parents showed sudden deterioration following birth on observed and self-reported measures of positive and negative aspects of relationship functioning. The deterioration in these variables was small to medium in size and tended to persist throughout the remaining years of the study. Mothers and fathers showed similar amounts of change after birth. The amount of postbirth deterioration in relationship functioning varied systematically by several characteristics of the individual, the marriage, and the pregnancy itself. In a group of couples who did not have children, results indicated more gradual deterioration in relationship functioning during the first 8 years of marriage without the sudden changes seen in parents, suggesting that the results seen in the parent sample may be due to birth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-619
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume96
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

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parenthood
Marriage
Parturition
Prospective Studies
parents
marriage
Parents
Fathers
Longitudinal Studies
pregnancy
longitudinal study
father
Mothers
Pregnancy
Group

Keywords

  • parent
  • prediction
  • relationship functioning
  • transition to parenthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Psychology

Cite this

The Effect of the Transition to Parenthood on Relationship Quality : An 8-Year Prospective Study. / Doss, Brian; Rhoades, Galena K.; Stanley, Scott M.; Markman, Howard J.

In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 96, No. 3, 01.03.2009, p. 601-619.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Doss, Brian ; Rhoades, Galena K. ; Stanley, Scott M. ; Markman, Howard J. / The Effect of the Transition to Parenthood on Relationship Quality : An 8-Year Prospective Study. In: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2009 ; Vol. 96, No. 3. pp. 601-619.
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