We used structural equation modeling and actor-partner interdependence models to test dyadic associations between adult attachment and changes in relationship commitment at the transition to parenthood in a sample of 182 dual-earner couples. Overall, more avoidant individuals experienced significant changes in commitment at the transition to parenthood; specifically, higher avoidance was associated with decreases in personal confidence and dedication. More anxious fathers experienced increases in personal felt constraint while anxious mothers' commitment remained stable. Partners of more anxious individuals experienced changes in commitment at the transition to parenthood. Higher anxiety was associated with decreases in partners' confidence and dedication and increases in partners' felt constraint. These results suggest that interventions focused on couple relationships at the transition to parenthood should address commitment as well as relationship skills and explore how adult attachment may influence the parents' reactions to stress during this disruptive transition. Future research should examine whether commitment levels recover once the initial stress of the transition to parenthood decreases and family roles and routines renegotiated.
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© 2015 American Psychological Association.
- transition to parenthood