Mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of the family context and children’s adjustment: coparenting young twins

Latham, Rachel M (2017) Mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of the family context and children’s adjustment: coparenting young twins. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of the quality of coparenting – the way in which they work together in their role as parents – forms the focus of three papers that comprise this thesis. Using a novel sample of ‘intact’ families with young twins, this research extends the existing coparenting literature beyond its typical focus on first-born children, to include more complex families. Participants were families who were part of the Twins, Family and Behaviour (TFaB) Study, a longitudinal, multimethod study of UK families with twins born in 2009/10 conducted by myself and my colleague over a two-year period.
Paper 1 examines bidirectional associations between coparenting and the marital relationship during the transition-to-school period. Controlling for cross-sectional associations and temporal stability, parents’ perceptions of higher quality coparenting were associated with their subsequent report of a higher quality marital relationship. Reciprocal associations between the marital relationship and subsequent coparenting, however, were not evidenced. These findings highlight the salience of coparenting for the marital relationship, and suggest that interventions seeking to improve the couples’ marital relationship should pay close attention to their coparenting.
Paper 2 focuses on parenting sense of competence (PSOC), examining the role of children’s disruptive behaviour, coparenting, and their interaction. For both mothers and fathers there was a significant interaction between their perceptions of coparenting and children’s disruptive behaviour such that high quality coparenting may protect the PSOC of parents dealing with high levels of children’s disruptive behaviour. These findings imply that practitioners and interventions concerned with promoting PSOC should pay due attention to the quality of coparenting as an important family context.
Paper 3 examines family-wide and child-specific effects of coparenting and coercive parenting on the development of children’s disruptive behaviour. Mothers’ perceptions of coparenting interacted with maternal overall coercive parenting such that high quality coparenting intensified the toxicity of maternal coercive parenting for children’s disruptive behaviour. This novel – and unexpected – finding indicates that the influence of high quality coparenting is not necessarily always positive. Coparenting interventions aiming to improve child outcomes would therefore be well-advised to also consider parenting strategies.
Further research is encouraged to explore these research questions within samples of socioeconomic diversity and across family types, as well as studies designed to examine twin and non-twin family differences.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women > HQ0503 The Family. Marriage. Home > HQ0767.8 Children. Child development Including child rearing, child life, play, socialisation, children's rights > HQ0769 Child rearing > HQ0777.35 Rearing of special categories of children - Twins, triplets, etc
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2017 10:47
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2017 10:47

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