Interdependence of Parenting of Mothers and Fathers of Infants

Melissa A. Barnett, Min Deng, W. Roger Mills-Koonce, Michael Willoughby, Martha Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


This study examined the relations among parenting behaviors of 97 coresident mothers and fathers of infants during a dyadic free-play setting. The authors examined the extent to which observed sensitive and intrusive parenting behaviors in mother-child and father-child dyads were related and how perceived marital quality may be associated with the similarity between maternal and paternal parenting behaviors. The authors found support for interdependence of parenting by mothers and fathers. High perceived marital quality was associated with interdependence of sensitive parenting behaviors in mother-infant and father-infant interactions. Negative parenting behaviors by mothers and fathers were interrelated regardless of marital quality. The findings highlight the importance of studying parenting by mothers and fathers as embedded within particular family systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-573
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • family systems
  • fathers
  • infancy
  • marital quality
  • parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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