USF St. Petersburg campus Faculty Publications


Individual parental adjustment moderates the relationship between marital and coparenting quality.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

James P. McHale

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

January 2004

Date Available

March 2012


Contemporary family research studies have devoted surprisingly little effort to elucidating the interplay between adults’ individual adjustment and the dynamics of their coparental relationship. In this study, we assessed two particularly relevant “trait” variables, parental flexibility and self-control, and traced links between these characteristics and the nature of the coparents’ interactions together with their infants. It was hypothesized that parental flexibility and self-control would not only explain significant variance in coparenting quality, but also act as moderators attenuating anticipated relationships between marital functioning and coparental process. Participants were 50 heterosexual, married couples and their 12-month-old infants. Multiple regression analyses indicated that even after controlling for marital quality, paternal flexibility and maternal self-control continued to make independent contributions to coparenting harmony. As anticipated, paternal flexibility attenuated the association between marital quality and coparenting negativity. Contrary to predictions, maternal flexibility and self-control did not dampen, but actually heightened the extent to which coparenting harmony declined in the face of lower marital quality.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Journal of Adult Development, 11(3), 191-205. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.




Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.