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J Fam Psychol. 2000 Mar;14(1):59-70.

The baby and the marriage: identifying factors that buffer against decline in marital satisfaction after the first baby arrives.

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Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle 98115-1525, USA.


This longitudinal study identified factors of couples' marital friendship in the beginning months of marriage that predicted stability versus decline in marital satisfaction over the transition to parenthood. Newlywed couples (N = 130) were followed longitudinally for 6 years. Forty-three couples because parents, and 39 childless couples served as a control group. Couples were interviewed about the history and philosophy of their relationship as newlyweds. What predicted the stable or increasing marital satisfaction of mothers were the husband's expression of fondness toward her, the husband's high awareness for her and their relationship, and her awareness for her husband and their relationship. In contrast, what predicted the decline in marital satisfaction of mothers were the husband's negativity toward his wife, the husband's disappointment in the marriage, or the husband or wife having described their lives as chaotic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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