The Role of Parents’ Attachment Configurations at Childbirth on Marital Satisfaction and Conflict Strategies

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This study explores the role of adult attachment configurations on marital satisfaction and conflict strategies during the transition to parenthood in a sample of 206 participants, 104 new parents and 102 childless by choice. All participants were administered measures of dyadic satisfaction and conflict strategies at two stages (during pregnancy and after 8 months, when the child was 6 months old). In prospective parents, the participants’ adult attachment configurations were also investigated in line with Crowell’s model. Results showed a decline in satisfaction and a lower use of cooperative conflict strategies for new parents. Secure specific attachment configurations appeared predictable of better satisfaction during the transition to parenthood. Insecure specific attachment configurations were predictable of a lower use of the cooperative strategy of integrating. Results were also explored in terms of the couple’s matching of attachment configurations. Overall, findings showed that in order to study a couple’s functioning it is important to consider the weight of each partner’s attachment configuration.