Co-parenting Mediates the Influence of Marital Satisfaction on Child Adjustment: The Conditional Indirect Effect by Parental Empathy
- 144 Downloads
This study investigated the mediational role of co-parenting in the association between marital satisfaction and child adjustment, by exploring the conditional indirect effect by parental empathy. Using a sample of 101 Italian father-mother dyads with school-aged children, we administered to parents a series of measures in order to assess marital satisfaction, co-parenting, parents’ empathic skills and children’s adjustment. We computed conditional indirect analyses in order to analyze the mediational role of co-parenting in the associations between marital satisfaction and child adjustment. Consequently, we computed a moderated mediated model in order to explore if mothers’ and fathers’ empathic skills moderated the mediating role of co-parenting. Our findings showed that lower levels of co-parenting mediated the associations between mothers and fathers marital dissatisfaction and children’s behavioral problems. Results also showed that this effect was moderated by parent’s empathic skills, such that mediation is stronger for those with lower empathic competencies (moderated mediation).
KeywordsMarital satisfaction Co-parenting Empathic skills Child adjustment Conditional indirect effect Children
EC: designed and executed the study, analyzed data, and wrote the paper. SM: collaborated with the design, collecting data and of their analyses, and writing of the study. PDB: aided in designing the study and wrote part of the discussion. MF: collaborated with the design and provided feedback on the paper.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
In the treatment of the subjects, we have complied with APA and AIP (Associazione Italiana di Psicologia), ethical standards and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Ethical approval was obtained from the Ethics Committee of the Catholic University of Milan in April 2013.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. A. (2001). Manual for the ASEBA school-age forms and profiles. Burlington, VT: Research Center for Children, Youth, and Families, University of Vermont.Google Scholar
- Albiero, P., Ingoglia, S., & Lo Coco, A. (2006). Contributo all’adattamento italiano dell’Interpersonal Reactivity Index. TPM - Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology, 13, 107–125.Google Scholar
- Belsky, J., Putnam, S., & Crnic, K. (1996). Coparenting, parenting, and early emotional development. In J. P. McHale & P. A. Cowan (Eds.), New directions for child development. Understanding how family-level dynamics affect children’s development: Studies of two-parent families (pp. 45–55). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- Brody, H. G., Flor, L. D., & Neubaum, E. (1998). Coparenting processes and child competence among rural African-American families. In M. Lewis & C. Feiring (Eds.), Families, risk, and competence (pp. 227–244). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Brown, G. L., Schoppe-Sullivan, S. J., Mangelsdorf, S. C., & Neff, C. (2010). Observed and reported supportive coparenting as predictors of infant-mother and infant-father attachment security. Early Child Development and Care, 180, 121–137. https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430903415015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Camisasca, E., Miragoli, S., Caravita, S. C. S., & Di Blasio, P. (2015). The Parenting Alliance Measure: The first contribute to the validation of the measure in Italian mothers and fathers. TPM-Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology, 22(1), 71–95. https://doi.org/10.4473/TPM22.1.6.Google Scholar
- Camisasca, E., Miragoli, S., & Di Blasio, P. (2013). L’attaccamento modera le reazioni dei bambini esposti al conflitto genitoriale? Verifica di un modello integrato [Does attachment moderate the reactions of children exposed to marital conflict? Evidence for an integrated model]. Psicologia Clinica dello Sviluppo, XVII, 479–500. https://doi.org/10.1449/76229.Google Scholar
- Camisasca, E., Miragoli, S., & Di Blasio, P. (2016b). Conflittualità genitoriale e sintomatologia da stress post-traumatico nei figli: uno studio esplorativo (Parental conflict and posttraumatic stress symptoms in children: An exploratory study). Maltrattamento e abuso all’infanzia, 18(2), 141–151. https://doi.org/10.3280/MAL2016-002008.Google Scholar
- Camisasca, E., Miragoli, S., Milani, L., & Di Blasio, P. (2016c). Adattamento di coppia, cogenitorialità e benessere psicologico dei figli: uno studio esplorativo [Marital adjustment, coparenting and children’s psychological adjustment: an exploratory study]. Psicologia della Salute, 2, 127–141. https://doi.org/10.3280/PDS2016-002007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Christopher, C., Saunders, R., Jacobvitz, D., Burton, R., & Hazen, N. (2013). Maternal empathy and changes in mothers’ permissiveness as predictors of toddlers’ early social competence with peers: A parenting intervention study. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 22(6), 769–778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cummings, E. M., & Davies, P. T. (2010). Marital conflict and children: An emotional security perspective. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Davis, M. H. (1980). A multidimensional approach to individual differences in empathy. JSAS Catalogue of Selected Documents in Psychology, 10, 85.Google Scholar
- Eisenberg, N., & Fabes, R. A. (1998). Prosocial development. In N. Eisenberg & W. Damon (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology: Social, emotional, and personality development (pp. 701–778). New York, NY: John Wiley.Google Scholar
- Feshbach, N. D. (1987). Parental empathy and child adjustment/maladjustment. In N. Eisenberg & J. Strayer (Eds.), Empathy and its development (pp. 271–291). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Frigerio, A. (2001). Child Behavior Checklist 4-18, Manuale [Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist 4-18]. Bosisio Parini, Italy: IRCCS Eugenio Medea, Editore Ghedini Libraio.Google Scholar
- Gentili, P., Contreras, L., Cassaniti, M., & D’Arista, F. (2002). La Dyadic Adjustment Scale: Una misura dell’adattamento di coppia. Minerva Psichiatrica, 43, 107–116.Google Scholar
- Hayes, A. F., & Preacher, K. J. (2013). Conditional process modeling: Using structural equation modeling to examine contingent causal processes. Structural Equation modeling: A Second Course, 2, 217–264.Google Scholar
- Jessee, A., Mangelsdorf, S. C., Wong, M. S., Schoppe-Sullivan, S. J., Shigeto, A., & Brown, G. L. (2018). The role of reflective functioning in predicting marital and coparenting quality. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27(1), 187–197. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-017-0874-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Schoppe-Sullivan, S. J., Weldon, A. H., Cook, J. C., Davis, E. F., & Buckley, C. K. (2009). Coparenting behavior moderates longitudinal relations between effortful control and preschool children’s externalizing behavior. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50, 698–706. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.02009.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Stroud, C. B., Meyers, K. M., Wilson, S., & Durbin, C. E. (2015). Marital quality spillover and young children’s adjustment: Evidence for dyadic and triadic parenting as mechanisms. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 44(5), 800–813. https://doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2014.900720.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Talbot, J. A., & McHale, J. P. (2004). Individual parent adjustment moderates the relationship between marital and coparenting quality. Journal of Adult Development, 11, 191–205. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JADE.0000035627.26870.f8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Trumpeter, N. N., Watson, P. J., O’Leary, B. J., & Weathington, B. L. (2008). Self-functioning and perceived parenting: Relations of parental empathy and love inconsistency with narcissism, depression, and self-esteem. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 169(1), 51–71. https://doi.org/10.3200/GNTP.169.1.51-71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar