The birth of the first baby - often referred to as the transition to parenthood (TTP) - is both a time of great joy and great stress for new parents. Although the literature is mixed, the preponderance of evidence suggests that the TTP has a negative effect on relationship functioning for most couples. However, as children age, the relationship functioning of parents and non-parents converge. Notably, there are important moderators of this average trajectory; couples with higher levels of pre-birth relationship problems, insecurely attached parents, temperamentally difficult infants, and TTP following biological birth rather than adoption are associated with larger post-birth declines. Fortunately, several effective couple-focused interventions are available to help buffer the negative effects of the TTP.
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