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15-11-2021 | Original Paper

Unequal Division of Child Care between Korean Spouses and Children’s Self-Regulation: The Mediating Roles of Parental Mental Health, Marital Conflict, and Parental Warmth

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies
Auteurs:
Jihee Im, Jean M. Ispa
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Abstract

This longitudinal study examined associations between parents’ unequal division of child care when children were 5 years of age and children’s self-regulation difficulties 2 years later, and whether parents’ mental health problems, marital conflict, and warmth toward children mediated this association. Participants were 1707 families drawn from the Panel Study on Korean Children. Mothers and fathers reported on their perceptions of inequality in the division of child care, mental health, marital conflict, and parental warmth. Mothers and teachers reported on children’s self-regulation difficulties. Parental division of child care was unequal with mothers shouldering the majority of it. Mothers’ perceptions of inequality in the division of child care was positively associated with maternal and paternal mental health problems and with their own and their spouses’ reports of marital conflict. Fathers’ perceptions of inequality in the division of child care was positively associated with paternal warmth. Results of an actor-partner interdependence mediation model showed significant indirect effects from mothers’ perceptions of inequality in the division of child care to children’s self-regulation difficulties via mothers’ reports of marital conflict and maternal warmth. Additionally, there was an indirect effect from fathers’ perceptions of inequality in the division of child care to children’s self-regulation difficulties via paternal warmth. The findings highlight the importance of the equal division of child care between parents in family functioning and children’s development.

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