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J Fam Psychol. 2008 Apr;22(2):253-63. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.22.2.253.

Establishing family foundations: intervention effects on coparenting, parent/infant well-being, and parent-child relations.

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Prevention Research Center, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


This study investigated the ability of a theoretically driven, psychosocial prevention program implemented through childbirth education programs to enhance the coparental relationship, parental mental health, the parent-child relationship, and infant emotional and physiological regulation. A sample of 169 heterosexual, adult couples who were expecting their 1st child was randomized to intervention and control conditions. The intervention families participated in Family Foundations, a series of 8 classes, delivered before and after birth, that was designed as a universal prevention program (i.e., it was applicable to all couples, not just those at high risk). Intent-to-treat analyses indicated significant program effects on coparental support, maternal depression and anxiety, distress in the parent-child relationship, and several indicators of infant regulation. Intervention effects were not moderated by income, but greater positive impact of the program was found for lower educated parents and for families with a father who reported higher levels of insecure attachment in close relationships. These findings support the view that coparenting is a potentially malleable intervention target that may influence family relationships as well as parent and child well-being.

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