Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Married people-Psychology, Couples-Psychology, Parents-Psychology, Parenting-Psychological aspects, Satisfaction, Coparenting, Couple satisfaction, Families


This mixed methods study explores qualities in couple relationships, as they emerged in the initial interview of a coparenting intervention, as they relate to couple satisfaction. Fifteen sets of parents were asked to describe and discuss their coparenting and couple relationship in the initial interview. Their degree of couple satisfaction was measured at baseline and again 18 months later, and coparenting and couple qualities were examined side by side with baseline couple satisfaction scores and change scores. By exploring qualities pertaining to the coparenting and couple subsystems during early parenthood, this study illuminates the complex interplay between coparenting and couple relationships in relation to couple satisfaction. Major findings of this study revealed that the discussion of qualities in the coparenting relationship tended to reveal more about the couple relationship than the discussion of the couple relationship itself, for these parenting partners. Findings pointed to maternal perceptions of father involvement, methods for handling couple disagreements, and the degree of affirmation offered from partner to partner as particularly important indicators of couple satisfaction. For partners who communicated strongly, affirmed one another's parenting, and for whom ideals were met with regard to the division of labor, couple satisfaction tended to start strong and stay strong. The findings implicate that the application of a coparenting paradigm is essential to understanding and improving family functioning and wellbeing, and that numerous complexities within family subsystems relate closely to couple satisfaction as it changes in relation to parenting.




iv, 82 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 72-79)

Limited Access until August 2017