The longitudinal and bidirectional association between parenting stress and couples' relationship quality

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Abstract

This study examined the longitudinal and bidirectional association between parenting stress and relationship quality, and whether the associations differed between married and cohabiting couples, using cross-lagged panel models (CLPM) and random-intercept cross-lagged panel models (RI-CLPM). Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Well-being Study, the findings indicated that the RI-CLPM model provided a better fit to the data compared to the CLPM model for mothers and fathers. The RI-CLPM results showed high levels of stability in parenting stress and relationship quality over time, that parenting stress was associated with higher levels of relationship quality for both parents, and that the between-person effect was similar for married and cohabiting couples. This study highlighted the importance of accounting for between- and within-person variability.

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Williams, D. T., & Parra, G. R. (2019). The longitudinal and bidirectional association between parenting stress and couples’ relationship quality. Personal Relationships, 26(4), 713–732. https://doi.org/10.1111/pere.12301

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