Finances, depressive symptoms, destructive conflict, and coparenting among lower-income, unmarried couples: A two-wave, cross-lagged analysis

Melissa A. Curran, Xiaomin Li, Melissa Barnett, Olena Kopystynska, Alexa B. Chandler, Ashley B. LeBaron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Following from an adapted family stress model (FSM), we used two-wave, secondary data from the Building Strong Families project, focusing on 4,424 primarily lower-income, unmarried couples expecting their first child together. We used cross-lagged analyses to test the directionality of the associations among financial difficulties, depressive symptoms, destructive interparental conflict, and coparenting alliance for both fathers and mothers when children were 15 and 36 months old. Two of the three hypotheses provided support for the FSM. First, destructive conflict predicted coparenting alliance (but not the reverse). Specifically, higher destructive conflict at 15 months for both fathers and mothers predicted lower coparenting alliance at 36 months for both fathers and mothers. Second, depressive symptoms predicted destructive conflict (but not the reverse). Specifically, fathers' (but not mothers') higher depressive symptoms at 15 months predicted both their own and mothers' higher destructive conflict at 36 months. Contrary to predictions, financial difficulties did not predict depressive symptoms; instead, we found support for the reverse: For mothers only, higher depressive symptoms at 15 months predicted higher financial difficulties at 36 months. Collectively, the results support the use of the FSM to understand the directionality of associations among key risk factors, especially depressive symptoms and destructive conflict, for primarily lower-income, unmarried couples expecting their first child together. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-499
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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