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Fam Process. 2019 Jun;58(2):404-417. doi: 10.1111/famp.12373. Epub 2018 Jun 20.

Supportive Coparenting, Parenting Stress, Harsh Parenting, and Child Behavior Problems in Nonmarital Families.

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Department of Child, Youth & Family Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE.
Extension Center for Family Development, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN.


Supportive coparenting is an identified protective factor for child development and behavioral outcomes. What is less known is how supportive coparenting dynamically links with other aspects of parenting and parent well-being, particularly in multi-stressed nonmarital families. This study used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study, analyzed within a structural equation model, to explore how mothers' experience of maternal depression, maternal age, father education, and SES interacted with their parenting stress and supportive coparenting to impact child behavioral problems and harsh parenting practices. Among the findings, more supportive coparenting was found to be significantly associated with fewer child behavioral problems and less harsh parenting. Transmitted through supportive coparenting and parenting stress acting as mediator, maternal depressive symptoms were indirectly and positively related to harsh parenting practices and child behavior problems. These findings are discussed within the context of the broader literature and next steps for research are discussed.


SEM ; Coparenting; Ecological Model; Mothers; Multi-Stressed Families; Parenting

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