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04-05-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 8/2017

Journal of Child and Family Studies 8/2017

Longitudinal Interrelations between Dyadic Coping and Coparenting Conflict in Couples

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 8/2017
Martina Zemp, Anne Milek, E. Mark Cummings, Guy Bodenmann
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s10826-017-0742-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


During the past few decades, research has increasingly addressed the associations between the interparental relationship and coparenting. However, limited headway has been made to systematically examine the longitudinal and bidirectional effects in this link. In the present study we tested whether change in couples’ dyadic coping predicted the trajectory of coparenting conflict over 1 year, or the reciprocal pathway, drawing data from a RCT intervention study in 150 parental couples. Couples were randomly assigned to (1) a couple-focused program (CCET), (2) a parenting training (Triple P), or (3) an untreated control group. The parents’ perceptions of their dyadic coping skills and coparenting conflict were assessed by means of questionnaires 2 weeks prior to and 2 weeks after completion of the treatment, at 6-month, and at 1-year follow-up. Results indicated that for the total sample, independent of treatment, increase in mothers’, but not fathers’, reports of dyadic coping from pre- to post-assessment predicted their own decrease in coparenting conflict over time, after controlling for both partners’ baseline levels, average age of children per family, and problematic behavior of one target child reported by parents. In contrast, decrease in coparenting conflict from pre- to post-assessment was not related with the trajectory of dyadic coping. This pattern of findings suggests that enhancement of dyadic coping skills in parents may be a promising means to promote the parents’ intimate relationship and, as a result, their supportive coparenting.

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