New Parents' Psychological Adjustment and Trajectories of Early Parental Involvement

Rongfang Jia, Letitia E. Kotila, Sarah J. Schoppe-Sullivan, Claire M. Kamp Dush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Trajectories of parental involvement time (engagement and child care) across 3, 6, and 9 months postpartum and associations with parents' own and their partners' psychological adjustment (dysphoria, anxiety, and empathic personal distress) were examined using a sample of dual-earner couples experiencing first-time parenthood (N = 182 couples). Using time diary measures that captured intensive parenting moments, hierarchical linear modeling analyses revealed that patterns of associations between psychological adjustment and parental involvement time depended on the parenting domain, aspect of psychological adjustment, and parent gender. Psychological adjustment difficulties tended to bias the 2-parent system toward a gendered pattern of "mother step in" and "father step out," as father involvement tended to decrease and mother involvement either remained unchanged or increased in response to their own and their partners' psychological adjustment difficulties. In contrast, few significant effects were found in models using parental involvement to predict psychological adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-211
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 National Council on Family Relations.


  • Adult well-being
  • Contemporary families
  • Gender roles
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Parent involvement


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