Sense of *control and psychological well-being during the transition to parenthood

2005 2005

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

In this study, 153 dual-earner, working-class couples were interviewed on five occasions during the first transition to parenthood. New parents' depression and anxiety was examined during a span of 14 months to test hypotheses that mental health would deteriorate over time for new parents, but that having a sense of control would buffer some parents against negative mental health outcomes. It was speculated that the working-class sample may be at risk for poor mental health outcomes due to having less access to occupational, financial, social, and personal (e.g., perceived sense of control) resources.

Findings challenged the notion that a sense of control is exclusively a stable psychological trait and revealed that control is comprised of two distinct components: an enduring component and a malleable component that changes with context. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to demonstrate that, on average, mothers' depression followed a curvilinear pattern, dropping across the transition to parenthood and then rising again. On average, fathers reported a curvilinear pattern of anxiety, increasing over time and beginning to drop over the course of one year. There was also significant variability around new parents' mental health, illustrating that some parents increased, while others decreased or maintained stable levels of psychological well-being over time. Having a higher sense of enduring control predicted lower levels of psychological distress for new parents, and increases in control over time predicted decreases in depression and anxiety. Results hold important implications for intervention with new parents. Increasing expectant parents' sense of control can help them manage the transition to parenthood with psychological health, and can generalize to their taking action in other arenas such as the workplace.

Indexing (details)

Developmental psychology
0622: Psychotherapy
0620: Developmental psychology
Identifier / keyword
Psychology; Anxiety; Control; Depression; Transition to parenthood; Well-being
Sense of *control and psychological well-being during the transition to parenthood
Pierce, Courtney P.
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-B 66/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
9780542198151, 0542198150
Perry-Jenkins, Maureen
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.