This study was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Grant No. 32-32330.91).
Intergenerational Transmission of Marital Quality Across the Transition to Parenthood
Article first published online: 14 NOV 2005
Volume 44, Issue 4, pages 441–459, December 2005
How to Cite
Perren, S., von Wyl, A., Bürgin, D., Simoni, H. and von Klitzing, K. (2005), Intergenerational Transmission of Marital Quality Across the Transition to Parenthood. Family Process, 44: 441–459. doi: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.2005.00071.x
- Issue published online: 14 NOV 2005
- Article first published online: 14 NOV 2005
- Marital Quality;
- Marital Satisfaction;
- First Birth
One of the most frequently reported changes across the transition to parenthood is a decline in marital quality after the birth of a first baby. Experiences in the family of origin may influence the trajectory of marital quality. Our study aimed to investigate the impact of recollections of family-of-origin marriage on marital quality (self-reports and clinical evaluation) from pregnancy to 1 year after the birth of a first child. A total of 62 first-time parents completed questionnaires (self-reported marital satisfaction) and clinical interviews (clinical evaluation of couples' dialogue quality). Although self-reported marital satisfaction and observed dialogue quality were highly associated, only self-reported marital satisfaction declined from pregnancy to 1 year after birth. This decrease was partly due to very high marital satisfaction during pregnancy. Different trajectories for self-reported marital satisfaction and observed dialogue quality were found for participants with recollections of low-, average-, and high-quality family-of-origin marriage. A structural equation model showed that participants who recollected a negative quality in their parents' relationship reported more negative changes in the quality of their own marriages. There seems to be an intergenerational transmission of marital quality that comes to light when couples are challenged by the birth and rearing of a baby.