Date of Award:

5-4-2015

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Lisa Boyce

Abstract

Parents have a great influence on the lives of their children, even as children develop into adolescents seeking independent identity. Families may find the transition of their children into adolescence difficult as they renegotiate their parenting strategies to allow for their children’s growing desire for independence. Because marital quality has been found to be related to parenting outcomes, the link between the parental and marital roles of a married couple becomes important to understand during the transition of their children into adolescents.

The present study uses the Inventory of Father (Parent) Involvement, Social Connectedness Scale, Quality Marriage Index, Couple Commitment Inventory, and Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale (CES-D). In order to more fully understand how marital quality is linked to parenting quality, this study focused on families that had married parents with early adolescent children.

The study had three main goals: (1) to examine predictors of parents’ perceptions of their marital quality and commitment, (2) to examine the associations among marital quality indicators and perceived parenting quality, and (3) to include early adolescent children’s, mothers,’ and fathers’ perceptions of parenting quality. These findings could be used to identify family process or dysfunction.

The results of this study indicate that mothers and fathers who have higher household income and fewer depressive symptoms are more likely to have higher quality and more committed marriages than mothers and fathers with lower household incomes and more depressive symptoms. Mothers and fathers who were involved with their early adolescent children reported higher marital commitment than those who were less involved. Fathers who felt connected to their adolescent were also more likely to rate their marital quality more highly than fathers who felt less connected. Adolescent perceptions of high father involvement were more likely when fathers reported high martial quality and commitment. Examining parenting quality from these multiple perspectives may have valuable implications for teaching extension and community classes on marital, parenting, and adolescent development topics.

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