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Curr Opin Psychol. 2017 Feb;13:25-28. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.04.003. Epub 2016 Apr 16.

The transition to parenthood: impact on couples' romantic relationships.

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Department of Psychology, University of Miami, PO Box 248185, Coral Gables, FL 33124-0751, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Psychology, University of Denver, 2155 South Race Street, Denver, CO 80208-3500, USA.


The birth of the first baby-often referred to as the transition to parenthood (TTP)-is both a time of great joy and great stress for new parents. Although the literature is mixed, the preponderance of evidence suggests that the TTP has a negative effect on relationship functioning for most couples. However, as children age, the relationship functioning of parents and non-parents converge. Notably, there are important moderators of this average trajectory; couples with higher levels of pre-birth relationship problems, insecurely attached parents, temperamentally difficult infants, and TTP following biological birth rather than adoption are associated with larger post-birth declines. Fortunately, several effective couple-focused interventions are available to help buffer the negative effects of the TTP.

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