Commitment has long been hypothesized to increase across the transition to parenthood, even though much research has found that relationship functioning declines during this period. We examined change in interpersonal commitment, measured as personal dedication and relationship confidence, and constraint commitment, measured as felt constraint, across the transition to parenthood. We tested for marital status differences in the change in commitment across the transition among three groups: cohabitation, marriage preceded by cohabitation, and direct marriage. Data came from the New Parents Project, a community sample of 173 married and cohabiting couples. Difference-indifference estimates indicated that cohabiting fathers, in comparison to married fathers, dropped further in personal dedication and relationship confidence and increased more in felt constraint across the transition to parenthood. No significant differences across the transition were found between cohabiting and married mothers. Further research on the transition to parenthood among unmarried couples is suggested.
|Number of pages
|Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice
|Published - 2014