A Cross-Lagged Panel Model of Coparental Interaction and Father Involvement Shortly After Divorce

Raymond E. Petren, Anthony J. Ferraro, McKenzie L. Zimmermann, Michael V. Anthony, Kay Pasley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine (a) associations among coparental interaction (cooperation, overt conflict, covert conflict) and father involvement (engagement, in-kind financial support), (b) associations among the three dimensions of coparental interaction, and (c) associations among the two dimensions of father involvement, shortly after divorce. Background: Family relationships change shortly after divorce, yet little research has examined coparental interaction and father involvement shortly after divorce and overt and covert conflict are often not included. Method: Mothers and fathers from different families in a southeastern state (N = 194) participated within 3 months after divorce (Time 1) and 3 to 6 months later (Time 2). A cross-lagged structural equation model was used to examine reciprocal associations among dimensions of coparental interaction and father involvement. Results: Higher father engagement and lower overt conflict (Time 1) were associated with higher cooperation (Time 2). Covert conflict was associated with later overt conflict. In-kind support was not associated with later father engagement or coparental interaction. No reciprocal associations among variables were found. Conclusion: Coparental conflict and father engagement may be salient to the development of later coparental relationships following divorce. Implications: Practitioners can help parents manage conflict and encourage father engagement to foster healthy coparental relationships after divorce.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)808-822
Number of pages15
JournalFamily Relations
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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