Representations of marriage and expectations of parenthood: Predictors of supportive coparenting for first-time parents

Melissa A. Curran, Nancy L. Hazen, Tanya Mann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Objective. We examine how spouses' representations of marriage and expectations about first-time parenthood predict support of the other spouse's parenting in postpartum triadic family interactions. Design. Prenatally, spouses' representations of marriage were assessed based on the content and insightfulness of memories from their parents' marriage, and spouses also rated their expectations about parenthood. At 24 months postpartum, partners were each rated on support of their spouse's parenting. Results. In general, individuals' higher expectations that their personal well-being would improve following first-time parenthood predicted lower support of the partners' parenting. But this effect was modified by individuals' marital representations, indicating that potential disillusionment due to unrealistically high expectations may be mitigated by having the insight to learn from the negative marital relationships of one's parents. Conclusions. What partners bring to the transition to parenthood, including how they expect it to affect their lives and how they represent marital relationships, have important effects on supportive coparenting for first-time parents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-122
Number of pages22
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 19 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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