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Parental Expressiveness as a Moderator of Coparenting and Marital Relationship Quality

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Driven by theory and extant research on the communication of emotions within the family, the current investigation examined marital quality and parents’ emotional expressiveness as determinants of coparenting in a sample of 57 couples with young children. Specifically, mothers’ and fathers’ expressiveness was examined as moderators of the association between marital quality and coparenting behavior. Though negative expressiveness did not emerge as a significant predictor of coparenting when considered in conjunction with marital quality, parents’ positive expressiveness made unique and interactive contributions to coparenting. Thus, it appears that positive expressiveness, especially fathers’, may be beneficial to family functioning. Positively expressive husbands protected couples from negative coparenting interactions in the face of less supportive marriages. Couples in distressed marriages may benefit from work with practitioners and family life educators who consider the role that the communication of emotions plays in the context of coparenting.
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Keywords: coparenting; expressiveness; fathers; marital quality; parent-child relationships

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-12-01

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