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Parenthood and Marital Satisfaction: A Meta Analytic Review. Authors: J.M. Twenge, W. Campbell, & C. Foster Presented by: Chris Farnum. Parenthood and Satisfaction Purpose. To determine the extent of the effects of parenthood on marital satisfaction.

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parenthood and marital satisfaction a meta analytic review

Parenthood and Marital Satisfaction: A Meta Analytic Review

Authors: J.M. Twenge, W. Campbell, & C. Foster

Presented by: Chris Farnum

parenthood and satisfaction purpose
Parenthood and SatisfactionPurpose
  • To determine the extent of the effects of parenthood on marital satisfaction.
    • Exactly how large is the effect of parenthood?
    • What variables determine the effect of children on satisfaction?
    • Address theoretical models
parenthood and satisfaction implications
Parenthood and SatisfactionImplications
  • Informed decisions
  • Counseling
  • Counteract effects
parenthood and satisfaction issues to consider
Parenthood and SatisfactionIssues to Consider
  • Measuring satisfaction is subjective. Tests used were Locke-Wallace, Global Distress, and Dyadic Adjustment Scale
  • Stressors present in marriage prior to having children
  • Differences in male/female definitions of marital satisfaction
parenthood and satisfaction moderator variables
Parenthood and SatisfactionModerator Variables
  • Gender of the parents
  • Age of children
  • Socioeconomic status of parents
  • Birth Cohort
  • Measure of marital satisfaction used
parenthood and satisfaction theoretical models
Parenthood and SatisfactionTheoretical Models
  • Addressing different explanations of children’s influence on marital satisfaction
  • Identified four key theories from research
  • Different outcomes men and women
theoretical models role conflict model
Theoretical ModelsRole Conflict Model
  • This theory states that adding children can lead to a reorganization of roles and this causes stress.
  • Women
  • Problems
  • Predictions for moderator variables
theoretical models restriction of freedom
Theoretical ModelsRestriction of Freedom
  • Children greatly diminish the freedom of individuals in a marriage
  • Women
  • Moderator variables and predictions
theoretical models sexual dissatisfaction model
Theoretical ModelsSexual Dissatisfaction Model
  • Children often interfere with parents’ sex lives.
  • Differences in male and female interpretations
  • Moderator variables
theoretical models financial cost model
Theoretical ModelsFinancial Cost Model
  • Children are expensive.
  • Moderator variables and predictions
parenthood and satisfaction literature review
Parenthood and SatisfactionLiterature Review
  • 1974-2000
    • PsychLit and Sociofile journal articles
    • Reference sections of journal articles
    • Dissertation abstracts
    • Total of 97 articles with 148 data points
    • 47,692 total respondents
    • Keywords: children and marital satisfaction
parenthood and satisfaction literature review12
Parenthood and SatisfactionLiterature Review
  • Examined two types of studies:
    • Comparison of satisfaction between married couples with and without children
    • Examination of correlation between satisfaction and number of children
  • Criteria for Inclusion:
    • Must have sample with parents and non-parents
    • Must report statistics that can be used to calculate an effect size (d)
parenthood and satisfaction calculation standards
Parenthood and SatisfactionCalculation Standards
  • Corrected for bias in “d” with two techniques
  • Positive effect sizes
  • Negative effect sizes
parenthood and satisfaction analyses
Parenthood and SatisfactionAnalyses
  • Weighted effect sizes
  • Computed effect sizes and heterogeneity statistic
  • Analyzed overall and for specific moderators
  • ANOVA
results of meta analysis comparing parents to non parents
Results of Meta AnalysisComparing Parents to Non-Parents
  • Parents had significantly lower marital satisfaction than non-parents (d = -.19)
  • Stronger negative effect on women

(-.19 vs. -.13)

  • Age moderator
    • Infant = -.38
    • Older child = -.20
  • Gender by age moderator- bigger difference for women
    • Women = with infant (-.50) vs. w/older (-.14)
    • Men = with infant (-.25) vs. w/older (-.30)
  • SES moderator
    • High (-.45) vs. Low (+.05)
  • Historical and birth cohort effects

(d = -.42)

results of the meta analysis comparing parents to non parents
Results of the Meta AnalysisComparing Parents to Non-Parents
  • Theoretical Models
    • Role Conflict **
    • Restriction of Freedom**
    • Sexual Dissatisfaction
    • Financial Cost
results of the meta analysis correlation between satisfaction and number of children
Results of the Meta AnalysisCorrelation Between Satisfaction and Number of Children
  • Results indicate the more children in the family, the lower the parents’ marital satisfaction (d = -.13)
  • Gender, age, and birth cohort- no significance
  • SES
    • Stronger effect sizes for high (d = -.26) and low SES (d = -.28)
    • Weaker effect size for middle SES (d = -.08)
  • Correlation between the effect size and the year of data collection (d = -.31, p<.01)
  • Theoretical Models- no support
results of the meta analysis summary of moderator variables
Results of the Meta AnalysisSummary of Moderator Variables
  • The transition to parenthood
  • Gender
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Birth Cohort
  • Measurement
parenthood and satisfaction strengths and limitations
Parenthood and SatisfactionStrengths and Limitations
  • Strengths
    • Large body of research
  • Limitations
    • Not enough data to compare parents with one child vs. parents with two vs. parents with three
    • Primarily correlational studies
parenthood and satisfaction conclusions
Parenthood and SatisfactionConclusions
  • This information can help couples set expectations or make structural changes.
  • Drop in satisfaction can be offset by other gains
  • Caution
parenthood and satisfaction personal observations
Parenthood and SatisfactionPersonal Observations
  • Implications for counseling?
  • Child preparation classes