Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 9, pp 2780–2796 | Cite as

Psychometric Evaluation of the Multidimensional Co-Parenting Scale for Dissolved Relationships

  • Anthony J. Ferraro
  • Mallory Lucier-Greer
  • Karen Oehme
Original Paper


Instruments that assess parenting behavior after divorce have largely focused on the domains of general support of and conflict in co-parenting. This paper introduces and validates a measurement tool that provides a more nuanced perspective of the quality of co-parenting behaviors, the Multidimensional Co-Parenting Scale for Dissolved Relationships (MCS-DR). Participants were divorced or currently divorcing parents recruited through a Qualtrics panel (N = 569) to take a university-sponsored, state-approved curriculum, “Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce” and respond to a series of surveys about their experiences in the divorce process. Exploratory factor analysis was used to identify the underlying factor structure of the initial measurement item pool, which consisted of 48 items. From this, a four factor model emerged, consisting of 23 items; one additional item was removed following tests of measurement equivalence as a function of gender suggesting a final measure which consisted of 22 items across the four subscales. Those subscales include: Overt Conflict, Support, Self-Controlled Covert Conflict, and Externally-Controlled Covert Conflict. Confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the four factor structure of the MCS-DR. The dimensions of Support and Overt Conflict demonstrate concurrent validity with an existing measure used in the literature on post-divorce co-parenting. Educators and clinicians may find this newly developed scale useful in helping parents identify their strengths and challenges in post-divorce functioning for the well-being of their children. Implications for the field are also discussed in relation to legislatively and judicially mandated divorce classes in many states.


Divorce Co-parent Psychometric evaluation Gender Dissolved relationships 



This study was funded by the Vandermark Foundation (Grant #F08067).

Author Contributions

AJF assisted in the development of the measure, assisted in the collection of data, conducted analyses, and contributed in writing all parts of the manuscript. MLG assisted in the development of the measure, contributed in writing all parts of the manuscript, and edited the manuscript. KOassisted in the collection of data, contributed in writing the literature review and discussion, and edited the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The Florida State University Institutional Review Board provided approval for the study.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony J. Ferraro
    • 1
  • Mallory Lucier-Greer
    • 2
  • Karen Oehme
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Family Studies & Human ServicesKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Family Violence StudiesFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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