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Father Involvement and Marital Relationship during Transition to Parenthood: Differences between Dual and Single-Earner Families

  • Susana Menéndez (a1), Mª Victoria Hidalgo (a2), Lucía Jiménez (a2) and Mª Carmen Moreno (a2)


Research into the process of becoming mother or father shows very conclusively that this important life transition is accompanied by both a decrease in marital quality and a more traditional division of labour. In this paper these changes are analyzed with special emphasis on the relationships between them and exploring the role played in this process by the mother's work status. Results showed a significant link between the development of marital quality and violated expectations regarding father involvement on childrearing. Dual-earner families were characterized by a specific pattern of changes, with greater stability than single-earner families in marital and parental roles during transition to parenthood and a significant role played by spouse support as a partner, but not as a parent.

La investigación sobre el proceso de convertirse en madre o en padre muestra, de manera muy concluyente, que esta importante transición evolutiva suele estar caracterizada por un decremento en la calidad de la relación de pareja y por una tradicionalización en la división de las tareas dentro del hogar. En este artículo se analizan ambos tipos de cambios prestando especial atención a la relación entre los mismos, y se explora el papel que juega en ellos el hecho de que la mujer trabaje o no fuera del hogar. Los resultados indican que existe una importante relación entre el desarrollo de la relación de pareja y la violación de expectativas respecto a la implicación del padre en la crianza y el cuidado del bebé. Las parejas en las que ambos miembros trabajan fuera del hogar tienden a estar caracterizadas por una mayor estabilidad en los roles como pareja y como progenitores durante la transición, y por el significativo papel que en este proceso juega el apoyo del cónyuge como pareja y no como progenitor.


Corresponding author

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Susana Menéndez Álvarez-Dardet. Departamento de Psicología Evolutiva y de la Educación. Universidad de Huelva. Campus del Carmen, Avda. Tres de Marzo s/n, 21001 Huelva (Spain). E-mail:


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Father Involvement and Marital Relationship during Transition to Parenthood: Differences between Dual and Single-Earner Families

  • Susana Menéndez (a1), Mª Victoria Hidalgo (a2), Lucía Jiménez (a2) and Mª Carmen Moreno (a2)


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