Coparenting in the family of origin and new parents' couple relationship functioning

Jia Yan, Anna Olsavsky, Sarah J. Schoppe-Sullivan, Claire M.Kamp Dush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


To better understand the long-term implications of coparenting quality for adult child outcomes, we examined the associations between coparenting quality in the family of origin (Generation 1; G1), and attachment avoidance and anxiety and perceived relationship functioning of new parents (Generation 2; G2) using a dyadic approach. Dual-earner families expecting their first child (n = 182) were followed across the transition to parenthood and assessed at the third trimester of pregnancy (3T) and 9 months after childbirth (9M). At 3T, parents reported on the coparenting quality in their families of origin, and attachment avoidance and anxiety. At 9M, the participants reported their perceptions of couple relationship functioning-dyadic adjustment and negative interaction. We found that at 9M, G1's coparenting quality predicted not only G2's own perceptions but also G2's partners' perceptions of relationship functioning. Further, mediational analyses showed that parents' G1 coparenting quality was associated with higher G2 self- and partner-perceived dyadic adjustment and lower G2 self-perceived negative interaction through G2 parents' lower attachment anxiety and avoidance. G1 coparenting quality was negatively associated with G2 partner-perceived negative interaction through G2 parents' lower attachment anxiety. Our findings suggest that coparenting relationships have long-term implications for human development even into adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-216
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We sincerely thank the many graduate and undergraduate students who recruited for, and collected, entered, and coded the data of, the New Parents Project as well as the families who participated in the research. The New Parents Project was funded by the National Science Foundation (CAREER 0746548 to Schoppe-Sullivan), with additional support from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD; 1K01HD056238 to Claire M. Kamp Dush), and Ohio State University's Institute for Population Research (NICHD R24HD058484) and Human Development and Family Science program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Psychological Association.


  • Actor-partner interdependence mediation model (APIMeM)
  • Attachment anxiety
  • Attachment avoidance
  • Coparenting quality in the family of origin
  • Couple relationship functioning


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