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Journal: Journal of family psychology : JFP : journal of the Division of Family Psychology of the American Psychological Association (Division 43)


Couple relationship quality is known to drop significantly across the transition to parenthood (Ahlborg & Strandmark, 2001; Doss, Rhoades, Stanley, & Markman, 2009), yet individual differences in the amount of parent-to-infant talk have rarely been studied in relation to variation in couple relationship quality. Addressing this gap, the current study of 93 first-time parents with 4-month-old infants included multimeasure reports of couple relationship quality from both mothers and fathers and examined associations between couple relationship quality and the home language environment, assessed via the Language Environment Analysis (LENA), when infants were approximately 7 months old. LENA consists of a wearable talk pedometer that records a full day of naturalistic parent-infant talk and is coupled to software that provides automated analysis. Given the covariation between depression and both couple relationship quality and parental infant-directed talk, both maternal and paternal depression were controlled for in all analyses. Results showed that, for mothers of sons, frequency of infant-directed talk was inversely related to couple relationship quality. Consistent with family systems theory, this finding provides partial support for the compensation hypothesis. However, variation in couple relationship quality was unrelated to infant-directed speech in fathers or in mothers of daughters. Together, these findings demonstrate that the gender composition of the parent-infant dyads plays a moderating role on the association between couple relationship quality and parent-infant talk. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2019 APA, all rights reserved).


Whether spanking is helpful or harmful to children continues to be the source of considerable debate among both researchers and the public. This article addresses 2 persistent issues, namely whether effect sizes for spanking are distinct from those for physical abuse, and whether effect sizes for spanking are robust to study design differences. Meta-analyses focused specifically on spanking were conducted on a total of 111 unique effect sizes representing 160,927 children. Thirteen of 17 mean effect sizes were significantly different from zero and all indicated a link between spanking and increased risk for detrimental child outcomes. Effect sizes did not substantially differ between spanking and physical abuse or by study design characteristics. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Medical statistics, Child, Effect size, Meta-analysis, Abuse, Source, Gene V. Glass


Although research has explored the association between marital quality and physical health in marriage, existing research fails to consider possible bidirectional associations between changes in individuals' marital quality and self-rated health. To address this gap, this study used latent change models to assess whether adults' marital happiness and problems over a 20-year period predicted subsequent changes in self-rated health, as well as whether self-rated health over the same time period was associated with changes in marital happiness and problems. The sample included 707 continuously married adults who participated in all six waves of the Marital Instability Over the Life Course panel study. Participants averaged 35 years in age at the first wave and were continuously married to the same spouse over the 20-year period. Latent differential models in AMOS 19 showed that unidirectional coupling existed for marital happiness and self-rated health only, such that higher levels of marital happiness predicted subsequent elevations in self-rated health over time. No evidence was found for bidirectional coupling between marital problems and self-rated health. Possible explanations for these patterns of results are discussed, including important directions for future researchers. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Marriage, Epidemiology, Research, Ontology, Wave, Personal life, All rights reserved, Periodization


This study tested the extent to which the emotional climate (positive and negative relationship quality) in family relationships and intimate partnerships are each uniquely linked to specific domains of aging health outcomes, over and above the impact of earlier health. Data included partnered participants who completed all three waves of the Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS). We used measures of family and intimate partner strain and support, at MIDUS 1, 2, and 3, and estimated the effects of each on subsequent morbidity and health appraisal (i.e., 10 and 20 years later). Autoregressive cross-lagged paths were modeled using maximum likelihood estimation with robust standard errors. Family strain was associated with later health in both the morbidity, χ²(35) = 411.01, p < .001; root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = .062, comparative fit index (CFI) = .952; standardized root-mean-square residual (SRMR) = .034 and health appraisal, χ²(35) = 376.80, p < .001; RMSEA = .058, CFI = .956; SRMR = .032 models. Morbidity and health appraisal also predicted later family emotional climate, reciprocally. Intimate partner emotional climate-health pathways were nonsignificant at each wave, in both models. Results are novel and may be the first to indicate the quality of family relationships are a more powerful predictor of aging health than the quality of intimate partnerships. Findings implicate the health of adults should be considered in the systemic context of families. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).


Using data from 1,338 couples who remained partnered over the first 5 waves of the German Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics (pairfam) project, this study investigated longitudinal associations between male partner contributions to housework and couple sexual satisfaction and frequency. The effect of 2 housework variables was examined: male partners' share of housework and perceived fairness of male partners' housework contributions. Results from a series of autoregressive cross-lagged models revealed no direct or indirect longitudinal associations between male partner share of housework and sexual frequency or satisfaction. Rather, when male partners reported making a fair contribution to housework, the couple experienced more frequent sexual encounters, and each partner reported higher sexual satisfaction 1 year later. This study provides a robust counterpoint to recent findings suggesting that men’s participation in housework is harmful to a couple’s sex life. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Sexual intercourse, Sex, Interpersonal relationship, Human sexual behavior, Human sexuality, Intimate relationships


Fifty-one solo mother families were compared with 52 two-parent families all with a 4-9-year-old child conceived by donor insemination. Standardized interview, observational and questionnaire measures of maternal wellbeing, mother-child relationships and child adjustment were administered to mothers, children and teachers. There were no differences in parenting quality between family types apart from lower mother-child conflict in solo mother families. Neither were there differences in child adjustment. Perceived financial difficulties, child’s gender, and parenting stress were associated with children’s adjustment problems in both family types. The findings suggest that solo motherhood, in itself, does not result in psychological problems for children. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Family, Parent, Interpersonal relationship, Developmental psychology, Mother, Father, Nuclear family, Carl Jung


Routines in the family are a potential source of resilience for at-risk children and support children’s emerging emotion regulation. Meanwhile, inadequate sleep has been linked with deficits in cognitive processes to attend to environmental stimuli and with poor emotion regulation for children. The detrimental effects of poor sleep are potentially worse in low-income children. The aim of the current study was to examine the moderating role of sleep in the association between family routines and emotion regulation in toddlers in poverty. We analyzed data of 130 toddlers (24-31 months; 58% boys) from low-income, primarily African American families. Mothers completed questionnaires about child routines (Child Routines Questionnaire; CRQ; Wittig, 2005).To measure emotion regulation, toddlers completed an observed behavioral task meant to elicit frustration (Lab-TAB-Locomotor Version; Goldsmith & Rothbart, 1991). As hypothesized, adequate sleep (> 11 hr) fully moderated the association between routines and observed emotion regulation. There was no effect of routines on emotion regulation for toddlers with inadequate amounts of sleep. Analyses controlled for toddler respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) as well as maternal emotion dysregulation (the Emotional Dysregulation Scale; EDS; Westen, Muderrisoglu, Fowler, Shedler, & Koren, 1997). These results emphasize the importance of sufficient sleep in at-risk toddlers. Furthermore, the results suggest that the effectiveness of family interventions focusing on family health to increase toddler emotion regulation could be improved by incorporating sleep interventions/routines. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2018 APA, all rights reserved).


Research exploring the mechanisms by which specific genes contribute to overall marital quality is still in its beginning stages; however, one mechanism may be the link between the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) and behavioral deficits relevant to social support-a critical determinant of marital quality. Using 79 different-sex married couples (N = 158), we found that genotypic variation in single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on wives' and husbands' OXTR variously associated with husbands' and wives' support provision and receipt behaviors in social support discussions. We also found significant indirect effects of husbands' TT genotype for OXTR SNP rs1042778 on lower marital quality for husbands and wives by way of the husband’s more negative evaluation of his wife’s responsiveness when he was the target for support. However, exploratory analyses also revealed that this genotype conferred benefits to marital quality through another path, altogether supporting the notion that genotypic variation on OXTR may have broad and potentially context-dependent influences on social behavior, which may play out in complex ways when examined in a marital context. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2018 APA, all rights reserved).


This study tested the feasibility of using audio recorders to collect novel information about family interactions. Research into corporal punishment (CP) has relied, almost exclusively, on self-report data; audio recordings have the promise of revealing new insights into the use and immediate consequences of CP. So we could hear how parents respond to child conflicts, 33 mothers wore digital audio recorders for up to 6 evenings. We identified a total of 41 CP incidents, in 15 families and involving 22 parent-child dyads. These incidents were evaluated on 6 guidelines culled from the writings of CP advocates. The results indicated, contrary to advice, CP was not being used in line with 3 of the 6 recommendations and for 2 others, the results were equivocal. The last recommendation could not be assessed with audio. Latency analyses revealed children, after being hit, were misbehaving again within 10 minutes after 73% of the incidents. Mothers' self reports about whether they used CP were found to correspond to the audio data in 81% of the cases. Among the mothers who were hitting, CP occurred at a much higher rate than the literature indicates. These results should be viewed as preliminary because of the small sample of families and the even smaller number of families who used CP. Nevertheless, this pilot study demonstrates that audio recording naturally occurring momentary processes in the family is a viable method for collecting new data to address important questions about family interactions. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Family, Mother, All rights reserved, Digital audio, Gramophone record, Audio engineering, Sound recording and reproduction, Audio compression


Loneliness may affect children’s psychological well-being and academic achievement. Parent-child relationships have been consistently associated with child adjustment. However, parental antecedents of child loneliness have been relatively understudied. Guided by attachment theory, we examined the trajectories of father-child and mother-child relationship closeness and conflict, and their associations with trajectories of child loneliness with National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD) data to understand parents' roles in child loneliness in middle childhood. In Grades 1 (Mage = 6.57, SD = .29), 3, 4, and 5, both resident fathers and mothers reported on parent-child relationships. At Grades 1, 3, and 5, children reported on their loneliness. Loneliness declined from Grade 1 to Grade 5. After controlling for socioeconomic status (SES), the slope of father-child relationship closeness was negatively associated with the slope of loneliness for girls (n = 341), but not for boys (n = 354). The more slowly father-child closeness declined, the more quickly girls' loneliness declined. These findings highlight the role of father-child relationships in child loneliness for girls. Future research on child loneliness should take both maternal and paternal roles into consideration. (PsycINFO Database Record