Adult attachment and jealousy of the partner–infant relationship at the transition to parenthood

Anna L. Olsavsky, Meghna S. Mahambrey, Miranda N. Berrigan, Sarah J. Schoppe-Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Using data from a sample of 182 dual-earner different-gender couples who were followed across their transition to parenthood, we adopted a dyadic approach to examine associations between expectant mothers’ and fathers’ attachment anxiety and avoidance in the third trimester of pregnancy and their own and their partners’ jealousy of the partner–infant relationship at 3 months postpartum. Results of an actor–partner interdependence model (APIM) revealed that expectant mothers and fathers higher in attachment anxiety reported greater jealousy of the partner–infant relationship at 3 months postpartum. The partners of expectant mothers and fathers higher in attachment anxiety also reported greater jealousy of the partner–infant relationship. There were no parent gender differences in actor or partner paths linking attachment anxiety and jealousy. Attachment avoidance was not associated with one’s own or one’s partner’s jealousy of the partner–infant relationship. An exploratory mediation analysis revealed greater jealousy of the partner–infant relationship as a potential mechanism linking higher attachment anxiety to lower dyadic adjustment at 9 months postpartum. Overall, results suggest that attachment anxiety in either partner may precipitate maladaptive relationship dynamics in the early postpartum period that may ultimately interfere with the establishment and maintenance of healthy parent–child and coparenting relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1745-1765
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Volume37
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge Claire M. Kamp Dush?s invaluable contributions to the design and execution of the New Parents Project. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded by the National Science Foundation (Grant CAREER 0746548, awarded to Sarah J. Schoppe-Sullivan), with additional support from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Grant 1K-1HD056238, awarded to Claire M. Kamp Dush) and The Ohio State University?s Institute for Population Research (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Grant R24HD058484) and program in Human Development and Family Science.

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was funded by the National Science Foundation (Grant CAREER 0746548, awarded to Sarah J. Schoppe-Sullivan), with additional support from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Grant 1K-1HD056238, awarded to Claire M. Kamp Dush) and The Ohio State University’s Institute for Population Research (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Grant R24HD058484) and program in Human Development and Family Science.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.

Keywords

  • Attachment
  • attachment anxiety
  • attachment avoidance
  • family science
  • jealousy
  • parent–child relationships
  • romantic relationships
  • transition to parenthood

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