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Marital Satisfaction Across the Transition to Parenthood: A Vulnerability-Stress-Adaptation Perspective

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Stephanie H. Parade (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Advisor
Esther Leerkes

Abstract: Previous research has demonstrated that the transition to parenthood is a time of change for couples during which marital satisfaction generally declines; however, not all couples experience declines in marital satisfaction during this time. Given that family-of origin experiences are thought to lay the foundation for adults' experiences in their close interpersonal relationships, the purpose of the current study was to examine remembered parental rejection during childhood as a predictor of individual differences in trajectories of change in marital satisfaction across the transition to parenthood. Drawing upon the Vulnerability-Stress-Adaptation perspective, marital aggression was considered as a mediating mechanism to better understand the process by which remembered rejection influences change in marital satisfaction. Additionally, the extent to which infant negative emotionality moderates the association between remembered parental rejection and both aggressive strategies to resolve conflict and change in marital satisfaction was examined. In an effort to extend theory and build upon previous research, both self- and partner-remembered parental rejection and aggressive conflict strategies were considered as predictors of change in marital satisfaction. Hypotheses were examined using data drawn from a study of family relationships across the transition to parenthood. Results demonstrated that there was significant variation around wives' but not husbands' trajectories of change in marital satisfaction across the transition to parenthood. Remembered parental rejection was not linked with change in wives' marital satisfaction across the transition to parenthood, independently or in conjunction with infant negative emotionality. In contrast, husbands' remembered maternal rejection was negatively associated with husband's marital satisfaction at six months postpartum, but only among husbands' whose infants were high on negative emotionality. Wives' remembered paternal rejection was negatively associated with husbands' marital satisfaction at six months postpartum. Infant negative emotionality was a significant negative predictor of wives' change in marital satisfaction across the transition to parenthood. There was no evidence of marital aggression as a mediating mechanism.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2010
Keywords
Attachment, Infant Temperament, Marital Aggression, Marital Satisfaction, Transition to Parenthood
Subjects
Marriage $x Psychological aspects.
Parents $x Attitudes.
Parenthood.
Stress (Psychology)
Parent and child.