Promotion of Coparenting During Family Formation Period

Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The central aim of this proposal is to develop and pilot test a preventive intervention aimed at enhancing couples' coparenting skills in order to promote positive adjustment to parenthood, family formation, and early parenting. The intervention will prepare first-time parents (either married or cohabitating) for the individual and couple-level stresses that a new child often brings, which coincides with elevated rates of depression for both parents and high rates of marital conflict and dissatisfaction. The sessions will combine brief didactic presentations with structured exercises, role-playing, discussion, and couple problem-solving practice. The intervention's short-term goals include enhanced coparenting cooperation and diminished hostile/competitive behaviors. Long-term goals include improved parental adjustment, increased marital quality, and increased parental sensitivity. The first specific aim is to develop and manualize the proposed intervention in the first year. To ensure widespread adoption through existing institutional healthcare structures, the program will be designed to be delivered through childbirth education departments. The strategic siting of coparenting programs in such departments will provide a universal, non-stigmatizing service-delivery framework. For this initial phase of pilot development, a team of researchers and childbirth educators will collaborate on developing the program to ensure both ecological validity and match with childbirth education departments' missions. The second specific aim is to administer a pilot trial of the intervention for six groups of couples--three groups at each of two sites. This proposal includes a pilot study of the effects of the program across randomized intervention and control conditions (75 couples in each condition), with pretest, posttest, and 6-month follow-up data collection waves. Methods will include self-report questionnaires and videotaped observational family interactions.
Effective start/end date12/1/0211/30/04


  • National Institute of Mental Health: $144,523.00
  • National Institute of Mental Health: $180,000.00


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