Interparental Relationships among Low Income, Ethnically Diverse, Two-Parent Cohabiting Families

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Objectives: The coparenting relationship has been conceptualized as a mechanism by which the broader interparental relationship affects child outcomes, but little is known about how aspects of fathers’ and mothers’ report of relationship quality (i.e., adjustment and conflict), are linked to coparenting quality within families experiencing economic strain or those of diverse racial or ethnic backgrounds. Methods: The present study used actor-partner interdependence models to investigate specific links between relationship quality and coparenting for 301 low-income, cohabiting couples. Results: Parents’ own relationship quality was related to their report of coparenting, and for relationship adjustment, links were stronger for mothers than for fathers. Generally, economic strain was linked to parents’ broader relationship quality and not coparenting. Models tested within subgroups of Black, Hispanic, Interethnic, and White parents suggest that overall associations between relationship quality and coparenting are similar for families of varying racial or ethnic backgrounds. Conclusions: Findings suggest that existing theoretical coparenting work is relevant to parents of diverse, low-income backgrounds and bolster a growing body of work indicating that mothers’ report of coparenting is more closely tied to the broader couple relationship than is fathers’ report of coparenting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2259-2271
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 5 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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