DOI: 10.1177/10443894231207442 ISSN: 1044-3894

Actor and Partner Effects of Interparental Relationship and Co-Parenting on Parenting Stress Among Fathers and Mothers

In Young Park, Jennifer L. Bellamy, Stephanie Rachel Speer, Jangmin Kim, Jin Yao Kwan, Paula Powe, Aaron Banman, Justin S. Harty, Neil B. Guterman
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Despite increasing father involvement in rearing their children, research on the determinants of parenting stress has focused on mothers, ignoring the mutual influence between the two parents—fathers and mothers. Using the actor–partner interdependence model, we examined fathers’ and mothers’ reciprocal influences on parenting stress, with a focus on interparental relationship and co-parenting. Data from 174 couple dyads from the Dads Matter-HV© program were analyzed. Findings showed that both mothers’ and fathers’ co-parenting directly reduced their own parenting stress. Fathers’ co-parenting significantly mediated the association between their own interparental relationship and parenting stress and the association between their own interparental relationship and mothers’ parenting stress. Findings suggest fathers’ perceptions of co-parenting are an important protective factor to be targeted by early child and family programs among parents at risk for chronic and parenting stress.

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