This study examines longitudinal correlates of coparental and family group-level dynamics during infancy. Thirty-seven couples observed at play with their 8–11-month-old infants (15 boys, 22 girls) rated their child’s internalizing and externalizing symptoms, and their own coparenting behavior 3 years later. Teachers also rated child behavior at the 3-year follow-up. Several significant relationships emerged between observed family process (high hostility–competitiveness, low family harmony, and high parenting discrepancies in the triad) at Time 1, and subsequent reports of child and coparenting behavior at Time 2. Larger parenting discrepancies at Time 1 predicted greater child anxiety as rated by teachers; greater hostility–competitiveness and lower harmony forecast higher child aggression. Time 1 family process continued to predict Time 2 aggression even after controlling for individual and marital functioning. Several links were also found between distressed family process and later parental reports of negative coparenting behavior. These parental reports of coparenting also explained unique variance in concurrent child behavior ratings. The significance of coparenting as a distinct family construct is discussed.
Coparental and family group-level dynamics during infancy: Early family precursors of child and family functioning during preschool.Faculty Publications
Date IssuedJanuary 1998
Date AvailableMarch 2012
PublisherCambridge University Press
Creative Commons LicenseCreative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0
Citation InformationMcHale, J.P. & Rasmussen, J.L. (1998). Coparental and family group-level dynamics during infancy: Early family precursors of child and family functioning during preschool. Development and Psychopathology, 10, 39-59.