Published January 9, 2024
A new study co-authored by Jangmin Kim, PhD, assistant professor in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, examines the effect of coparenting in families where parents display harsh parenting behaviors.
The paper — titled “Coparenting: Mediating the relationship between harsh parenting and parent engagement using Actor-Partner Interdependence Mediation Model” — was published last fall in the Journal of Family Trauma, Child Custody & Child Development.
Mark Trahan, PhD, associate professor and chair of the Appalachian State University Department of Social Work, led the study, with co-authors Kim and Mi Jin Choi, PhD, assistant professor at Texas State University.
Coparenting and parent engagement are important protective factors for children, but a dearth of research limits our understanding of whether coparenting mediates the relationship between harsh parenting and parent engagement in an interdependent model. The current study sought to examine the indirect effect of coparenting on the relationship between mother and father harsh parenting and engagement.
Using Actor Partner Interdependence Mediation Model (APIMeM) with dyadic data from the Supporting Healthy Marriage evaluation, this study examines the indirect effects of coparenting on the relationship between harsh parenting and parent engagement with diverse couples (N = 6,268 couples). Fathers’ harsh parenting significantly decreased father’s coparenting (p < .001) and increased mothers’ engagement (p < .05) and mother’s harsh parenting decreased both their co-parenting (p < .001) and fathers’ co-parenting (p < .05). Actor-actor indirect effects were significant for coparenting on the relationship between harsh parenting and parenting engagement.
Results demonstrate that harsh parenting has direct effects on coparenting, but not on parent engagement, while coparenting mediates the relationship between harsh parenting and parent engagement for actor and some partner indirect effects. This study provides evidence of the relationship between harsh parenting and coparenting, with further evidence of the importance of coparenting as a protective factor for families in which parents demonstrate harsh parenting behavior.