Predictors of change in relationship satisfaction during the transition to parenthood

Tea Trillingsgaard, Katherine J.W. Baucom, Richard E. Heyman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Couple-focused interventions have shown limited success at preventing relationship satisfaction decline in couples during transition to parenthood. More knowledge on what constitutes relationship risk may inform future practice. This study investigated the role of underexplored individual and contextual risk factors through interactive and additive models. Participating couples (N=228) completed questionnaires during pregnancy and at 6 and 30 months postpartum. The authors used bootstrapped Bayesian information criterion analyses to select significant and reliable predictors of change in relationship satisfaction within three predefined sets of factors representing components of the vulnerability-stress-adaptation model. Anxiety and depression symptoms during pregnancy, shorter length of the relationship, and lower levels of constructive communication predicted declines in relationship satisfaction from pregnancy to 30-months postpartum. When these risk factors were combined, additive rather than interactive risk models were supported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-679
Number of pages13
JournalFamily Relations
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Communication
  • Couple relationship
  • Mental health
  • Pregnancy
  • Relationship satisfaction
  • Transition to parenthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Predictors of change in relationship satisfaction during the transition to parenthood'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this