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Marriages with children at medical risk: the transition to parenthood.

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Department of Pediatrics, National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Denver, CO 80206.


Prior studies suggest that the birth of a new baby causes a modest but reliable drop in marital satisfaction. The present study replicates and extends this finding in couples with children at medical risk and probes the mechanisms behind this effect. Longitudinal data on marital satisfaction, family structure, infant illness and temperament, and family life events were collected at prenatal, 6, 12, and 18 month periods. Family structural burdens and family stress burdens had a significant negative effect on marital satisfaction. Child-related burdens were less reliably related. Results are discussed in the context of stress and coping as well as developmental psychopathology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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