Date of Award:

5-1-2014

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Abstract

A descriptive, phenomenological research design was used to gain a deeper understanding of the nature and meaning of couples’ experiences as they made the transition to parenthood. Specifically, this study examined what is the lived experience of couples making the transition to parenthood and what meaning do they ascribed to the experience of brief, couple-focused, preventative interventions? Five couples who were expecting their first baby participated in this study. From the data provided, two major categories emerged. The first was the couples’ experiences with becoming new parents and the second was the couples’ experiences with therapy. Under the first category, five major themes emerged: (1) physical and emotional challenges, (2) bonding with baby, (3) satisfaction in roles and new identity, (4) impact of social support, and (5) stability of relationship satisfaction. Three themes were discovered under the category related to the couples’ experience with therapy: (1) facilitated communication, (2) stress management, and (3) preparation for the transition. This study concluded by discussing the essence of the phenomenon of couples’ experiences with the transition to parenthood and the meaning they ascribed to therapeutic interventions along with clinical implications of these findings.