Differential Impact of Parent Functioning on Infant Social Emotional Functioning During the Transition to Parenthood
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The current study examined the relations between parental and relationship functioning and infant social-emotional functioning, with an emphasis on the differential predictive power of mothers and fathers. This is the first study to examine certain specific predictors of parent functioning: parental alliance, parental identity, relationship adjustment and relationship conflict in an infant sample during the transition to parenthood. Results indicated that fathers’ functioning better predicted infants’ dysregulatory problems, while mothers’ functioning better predicted infants’ internalizing problems. Specifically, fathers’ functioning predicted negative emotionality and eating problems in their infants, while mothers’ functioning predicted general anxiety and separation distress in their infants. Results also showed that several combinations of differential predictive power (e.g., the highest functioning parent vs. the lowest functioning parent) were not significant predictors of difficulties in their infants, indicating that the impact of one parent does not depend on the functioning of the other. Important theoretical implications based on the gender differences in predictive power found, as well as the lack of contextual effects found in the present sample, are discussed.
Transition to Parenthood
Carhart, Kathryn Patricia (2011). Differential Impact of Parent Functioning on Infant Social Emotional Functioning During the Transition to Parenthood. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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