Category: Violence / Aggression

Symposium

Coercive Control During the Transition to Parenthood: Links With Relationship, Parenting, and Psychological Well-Being

Friday, November 17
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Indigo Ballroom B, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Intimate Partner Aggression | Couples / Close Relationships | Parenting
Presentation Type: Symposium

Background:  The ability to successfully manage the increased stressors of the transition to parenthood has significant and long-lasting implications for the stability of parents’ relationships, as well as for their children’s early socioemotional development. The purpose of this study was to examine coercive control between parents as a predictor of problematic relationship, parenting, and psychological functioning during the transition to parenthood.


 


Method: Ninety-eight heterosexual couples participated in a laboratory assessment during the third trimester of pregnancy with their first child, and then completed follow-up surveys at their children’s first and second birthdays. Participants completed questionnaires on coercive control, intimate partner violence, relationship satisfaction, perceived co-parenting, depression, and problematic alcohol use. 


 


Results: Two-level longitudinal multilevel actor-partner interdependence models employing coercive control as a time-varying level 1 predictor demonstrated that 1) coercive controlling behaviors were highly related between partners; 2)coercive control by both mothers and fathers predicted partners’ lower relationship satisfaction and lower perceived co-parenting alliance across the transition to parenthood; and 3) women’s coercive control in particular was predictive of men’s symptoms of depression, problematic alcohol use, and poor sense of parenting competence. These associations held even after controlling for psychological and physical forms of intimate partner violence.


 


Conclusions:  Coercive controlling behaviors may represent an important and under-recognized risk-factor for relationship and parenting problems in early parenthood. We speculate that, although both partners’ controlling behaviors can destabilize their relationships, mother’s coercive control might be particularly problematic for fathers’ perceptions of competency and autonomy as a new parent.

Erica Woodin

Associate Professor
University of Victoria

Presentation(s):

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Coercive Control During the Transition to Parenthood: Links With Relationship, Parenting, and Psychological Well-Being



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