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What Explains Violated Expectations of Parent–Child Relationship in Transition to Parenthood?

What Explains Violated Expectations of Parent–Child Relationship in Transition to Parenthood? Parent–child relationship is created already in prenatal fantasies and expectations of the child-to-be. Negative violation of these expectations after the child is born is known to be harmful for the parent–child relationship. Yet, research is scarce about the medical and psychological factors contributing to violated expectations (VE). This study models the role of parent-, delivery- and infant-related underlying mechanisms for VE. It further compares parents with assisted reproductive treatment (ART) and spontaneous conception (SC), and primi- and multiparous couples. The couples (n = 743) separately filled in questionnaires concerning their prenatal expectations (T1) and 2 months postnatal representations (T2) of intimacy and autonomy in the relationship with their child, measured with Subjective Family Picture Test. A negative or positive discrepancy indicated violated expectations. The parent-related (mental health and marital quality), delivery-related (maternal and paternal birth experience, unplanned Caesarean, and amount of analgesia) and infant-related (infant health problems, difficult infant characteristics, and parental worry) factors were assessed at T2. Results show that among mothers, the associations were mostly indirect and mediated via mental health problems. Among fathers, the associations were direct, marital problems most crucially predicting VE. ART fathers were less susceptible to VE resulting from infant-related problems than SC fathers, but more susceptible to VE resulting from delivery problems. Delivery- and infant-related factors also predicted VE differently among primi- and multiparous mothers. Considering factors that contribute to VE is important when working with couples in transition to parenthood. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Family Psychology American Psychological Association

What Explains Violated Expectations of Parent–Child Relationship in Transition to Parenthood?

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Publisher
American Psychological Association
Copyright
© 2014 American Psychological Association
ISSN
0893-3200
eISSN
1939-1293
DOI
10.1037/a0036050
pmid
24588604
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Parent–child relationship is created already in prenatal fantasies and expectations of the child-to-be. Negative violation of these expectations after the child is born is known to be harmful for the parent–child relationship. Yet, research is scarce about the medical and psychological factors contributing to violated expectations (VE). This study models the role of parent-, delivery- and infant-related underlying mechanisms for VE. It further compares parents with assisted reproductive treatment (ART) and spontaneous conception (SC), and primi- and multiparous couples. The couples (n = 743) separately filled in questionnaires concerning their prenatal expectations (T1) and 2 months postnatal representations (T2) of intimacy and autonomy in the relationship with their child, measured with Subjective Family Picture Test. A negative or positive discrepancy indicated violated expectations. The parent-related (mental health and marital quality), delivery-related (maternal and paternal birth experience, unplanned Caesarean, and amount of analgesia) and infant-related (infant health problems, difficult infant characteristics, and parental worry) factors were assessed at T2. Results show that among mothers, the associations were mostly indirect and mediated via mental health problems. Among fathers, the associations were direct, marital problems most crucially predicting VE. ART fathers were less susceptible to VE resulting from infant-related problems than SC fathers, but more susceptible to VE resulting from delivery problems. Delivery- and infant-related factors also predicted VE differently among primi- and multiparous mothers. Considering factors that contribute to VE is important when working with couples in transition to parenthood.

Journal

Journal of Family PsychologyAmerican Psychological Association

Published: Apr 3, 2014

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