Birth timing and the effects of parenthood
Howard, Gregory B.
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The effects of parenthood were investigated in a random sample of college graduates measured at four times over an eight-year interval . Birth timing was examined 1n relation to age and length of marriage in a group of subjects (n=60) who had a first child age 12 months or less at one of the four times of measurement. Age was positively correlated with intimacy for men, and length of marriage was related to lack of well-being for women. Age differences were not found in a multivariate analysis of var1ance, although women were found to be more liberal in gender-role attitudes . At Time 4, married parents ( n=161) and married non-parents (n=62) did not differ in marital adjustment , although women overall, and mothers in the parent group, were found to be higher than men in marital adjustment. Among Time 4 parents with marital adjustment scores at previous times of measurement, an overall pattern of correlation of marital adjustment scores across times of measurement was found. A regression analysis revealed that, especially for men, intimacy and marital adjustment from earlier times of measurement were significant predictors of Time 4 marital adjustment . These findings suggest that overall. birth timing 1n this sample is not a crucial determinant of adjustment following the transition to parenthood, and that in a broad sense, parenthood does not have a negative effect on marital adjustment.