Attachment orientations, marriage, and the transition to parenthood

Jeffry A. Simpson, W. Steven Rholes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This study examined how a major life stressor-the transition to parenthood-impacts marital satisfaction and functioning in persons with different romantic attachment orientations. As hypothesized, if highly ambivalent women entered the transition perceiving low levels of spousal support, they experienced significant declines (pre-to-postnatal changes) in perceptions of spousal support and marital satisfaction, and their husbands reported significant declines in support giving and marital satisfaction. Changes in both spouses' satisfaction were mediated by pre-to-postnatal changes in wives' perceptions of spousal support. That is, highly ambivalent women who perceived less prenatal support reported significant declines in perceived support over time, which in turn predicted significant declines in their marital satisfaction. These results highlight the critical role that perceptions of support assume when highly ambivalent women encounter a major life stressor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)622-628
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant MH49599. The authors contributed equally to this research.

Copyright 2004 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam. All rights reserved.


  • Attachment
  • Marital satisfaction
  • Parenthood


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