Positive and negative cognitions about parenthood were assessed in a sample of recently married childless spouses who were in nondistressed, distressed, and husband-to-wife (H-to-W) aggressive marriages (328 husbands and 331 wives). As predicted, maritally distressed spouses held more negative cognitions about parenthood than did nondistressed spouses. Results indicated that spouses in H-to-W aggressive marriages expected parenthood to be a more unpredictable and difficult job than spouses in marriages not involving H-to-W aggression. Wives also reported more fears that having a child would result in a loss of freedom than did husbands. No distress, H-to-W aggression level, or gender differences were obtained for positive preparenthood cognitions. Finally, wives' but not husbands' positive and negative preparenthood cognitions at 6 months of marriage were able to predict parenthood status at 30 months of marriage.
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