Advertisement

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Divorce Co-parent Psychometric evaluation Gender Dissolved relationships 

Notes

Acknowledgements

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.

References

  1. Adamsons, K., & Pasley, K. (2006). Coparenting following divorce and relationship dissolution. In M. A. Fine & J. H. Harvey (Eds.), The handbook of divorce and relationship dissolution (pp. 241–261). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Ahrons, C. R. (1981). The continuing coparental relationship between divorced spouses. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 51, 415–428.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Ahrons, C. R. (1983). Predictors of paternal involvement postdivorce: mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions. Journal of Divorce, 6(3), 55–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ahrons, C. R. (1994). The good divorce: keeping your family together when your marriage comes apart. New York, NY: Harper Collins.Google Scholar
  5. Ahrons, C. R. (2007). Family ties after divorce: long-term implications for children. Family Process, 46, 53–65.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Ahrons, C. R., & Rodgers, R. H. (1987). Divorced families: meeting the challenges of divorce and remarriage. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co.Google Scholar
  7. Bacon, B. L., & McKenzie, B. (2004). Parent education after separation/divorce: impact of the level of parental conflict on outcomes. Family Court Review, 42, 85–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Baum, N. (2004). Typology of post-divorce parental relationships and behaviors. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 41, 53–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beckmeyer, J. J., Coleman, M., & Ganong, L. H. (2014). Postdivorce coparenting typologies and children’s adjustment. Family Relations, 63, 526–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Beckmeyer, J. J., Ganong, L. H., Coleman, M., & Markham, M. (2017). Experiences with coparenting scale: a semantic differential measure of postdivorce coparenting satisfaction. Journal of Family Issues, 38, 1471–1490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bentler, P. M., & Bonett, D. G. (1980). Significance tests and goodness of fit in the analysis of covariance structures. Psychological Bulletin, 88, 588–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bögels, S. M., Hellemans, J., van Deursen, S., Römer, M., & van der Meulen, R. (2014). Mindful parenting in mental health care: effects on parental and child psychopathology, parental stress, parenting, coparenting, and marital functioning. Mindfulness, 5, 536–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bohannan, P. (1971). Divorce and after: an analysis of the emotional and social problems of divorce.Garden City, NY: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
  14. Bonach, K. (2005). Factors contributing to quality coparenting. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 43, 79–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bonach, K., Sales, E., & Koeske, G. (2005). Gender differences in perceptions of coparenting quality among expartners. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 43, 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Browne, M. W., & Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In K. A. Bollen & J. S. Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models (pp. 136–162). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Buchanan, C. M., Maccoby, E. E., & Dornbusch, S. M. (1991). Caught between parents: adolescents’ experience in divorced homes. Child Development, 62, 1008–1029.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Buehler, C., Krishnakumar, A., Stone, G., Anthony, C., Pemberton, S., Gerard, J., & Barber, B. K. (1998). Interparental conflict styles and youth problem behaviors: a two-sample replication study. Journal of Marriage and Family, 60, 119–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Buehler, C., & Trotter, B. B. (1990). Nonresidential and residential parents’ perceptions of the former spouse relationship and children’s social competence following marital separation: theory and programmed intervention. Family Relations, 39, 395–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Carmines, E., & McIver, J. (1981). Analyzing models with unobserved variables: analysis of covariance structures. In G. W. Bohrnstedt & E. F. Borgatta (Eds.), Social measurement: current issues (pp. 65–115). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
  21. Cheung, G. W., & Rensvold, R. B. (2002). Evaluating goodness-of-fit indexes for testing measurement invariance. Structural Equation Modeling, 9, 233–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., & Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 24, 385–396.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Cox, M. J., & Paley, B. (1997). Families as systems. Annual Review of Psychology, 48, 243–267.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Duncan, S. F., Goddard, H. W. (2011). Family life education: principles and practices for effective outreach. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  25. Dyer, W. J. (2015). The vital role of measurement equivalence in family research. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 7, 415–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Emery, R. E. (2012). Renegotiating family relationships: divorce, child custody, and mediationNew York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  27. Enders, C. K. (2010). Applied missing data analysis. New York, NY: Guildford Press.Google Scholar
  28. Fabrigar, L. R., Wegener, D. T., MacCaullum, R. C., & Strahan, E. J. (1999). Evaluating the use of exploratory factor analysis in psychological research. Psychological Methods, 4, 272–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Favez, N., Widmer, E. D., Doan, M., & Tissot, H. (2015). Coparenting in stepfamilies: maternal promotion of family cohesiveness with partner and with father. Journal of Child and family Studies, 24, 3268–3278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Feinberg, M. (2003). The internal structure and ecological context of coparenting: a framework for research and intervention. Parenting: Science and Practice, 3, 95–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Feinberg, M. E., Brown, L. D., & Kan, M. L. (2012). A multi-domain self-report measure of coparenting. Parenting: Science and Practice, 12, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Finzi-Dottan, R., & Cohen, O. (2014). Predictors of parental communication and cooperation among divorcing spouses. Journal of Child and family Studies, 23, 39–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gallagher, J. R., Rycraft, J. R., & Jordan, T. (2014). An innovative approach to improving father-child relationships for fathers who are noncompliant with child support payments: a mixed methods evaluation. Journal of Adolescent and Family Health, 6(2), 1–23.Google Scholar
  34. Ganong, L. H., Coleman, M., Markham, M., & Rothrauff, T. (2011). Predicting postdivorce coparental communication. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 52, 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Geasler, M. J., & Blaisure, K. R. (1998). A review of divorce education program materials. Family Relations, 47, 167–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Goldsmith, J. (1981). Relationships between former spouses: descriptive findings. Journal of Divorce, 4(2), 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Grych, J. H. (2005). Interparental conflict as a risk factor for child maladjustment: implications for the development of preventions programs. Family Court Review, 43, 97–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Henley, K., & Pasley, K. (2005). Conditions affecting the association between father identity and father involvement. Fathering, 3, 59–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hewitt, P. L., Flett, G. L., & Mosher, S. W. (1992). The perceived stress scale: factor structure and relation to depression symptoms in a psychiatric sample. Journal of psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 14, 247–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lamb, M. E. (2010). How do fathers influence children’s development? Let me count the ways. In M. E. Lamb (Ed.), The role of the father in child development. 5th ed (pp. 1–26). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons Inc.Google Scholar
  41. Little, T. D. (2013). Longitudinal structural equation modeling. New York: NY: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  42. Madden-Derdich, D. A., Estrada, A. U., Updegraff, K. A., & Leonard, S. A. (2002). The boundary violations scale: an empirical measure of intergenerational boundary violations in families. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 28, 241–254.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Margolin, G., Gordis, E. B., & John, R. S. (2001). Coparenting: a link between marital conflict and parenting in two-parent families. Journal of Family Psychology, 15, 3–21.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Masheter, C. (1997). Healthy and unhealthy friendship and hostility between ex-spouses. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 59, 463–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. McDaniel, B. T., Teti, D. M., & Feinberg, M. E. (2017). Assessing coparenting relationships in daily life: the daily coparenting scale (D-Cop). Journal of Child and family Studies, 26, 2396–2411.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. McHale, J. P. (1997). Overt and covert coparenting processes in the family. Family Process, 36, 183–201.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Merrifield, K. A., & Gamble, W. C. (2012). Associations among marital qualities, supportive and undermining coparenting, and parenting self-efficacy: testing spillover and stress-buffering processes. Journal of Family Issues, 34, 510–533.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Minuchin, S. (1974). Families and family therapy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Morrill, M. I., Hines, D. A., Mahmood, S., & Córdova, J. V. (2010). Pathways between marriage and parenting for wives and husbands: the role of coparenting. Family Process, 49, 59–73.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  50. Mullett, E. K., & Stolberg, A. (1999). The development of the co-parenting behaviors questionnaire: an instrument for children of divorce. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 31, 115–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Murphy, S. E., Jacobvitz, D. B., & Hazen, N. L. (2016). What’s so bad about competitive coparenting? Family-level predictors of children’s externalizing symptoms. Journal of Child and family Studies, 25, 1684–1690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Mytton, J., Ingram, J., Manns, S., & Thomas, J. (2014). Facilitators and barriers to engagement in parenting programs: a qualitative systematic review. Health Education & Behavior, 41(2), 127–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Olson, D. H. (2000). Circumplex model of marital and family systems. Journal of Family Therapy, 22, 144–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Osborne, J. W., & Costello, A. B. (2004). Sample size and subject to item ratio in principal components analysis. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 9 (11). http://pareonline.net/getvn.asp?v=9&n=11
  55. Parent, J., & Forehand, R. (2017). The multidimensional assessment of parenting scale (MAPS): development and psychometric properties. Journal of Child and family Studies, 26, 2136–2151.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  56. Pollet, S. L., & Lombreglia, M. (2008). A nationwide survey of mandatory parent education. Family Court Review, 46, 375–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Russell, L. T., Beckmeyer, J. J., Coleman, M., & Ganong, L. (2015). Perceived barriers to postdivorce coparenting: differences between men and women and associations with coparenting behaviors. Family Relations, 65, 450–461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sheets, V. L., & Braver, S. L. (1996). Gender differences in satisfaction with divorce settlements. Family Relations, 15, 336–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Straus, M. A. (1979). Measuring intrafamily conflict and violence: the conflict tactics (CT) scales. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 41, 75–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Thompson, B. (2004). Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis: understanding concepts and applications. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Toews, M. L., & McKenry, P. C. (2001). Court-related predictors of parental cooperation and conflict after divorce. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 35, 57–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Van Egeren, L. A. (2001). Le rôle du père au sein du partenariat parental (The father’s role in the coparenting relationship). Santé mentale au Québec, 26, 134–159.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Van Egeren, L. A., & Hawkins, D. P. (2004). Coming to terms with coparenting: implications of definition and measurement. Journal of Adult Development, 11, 165–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Vareschi, C. G., & Bursik, K. (2005). Attachment style differences in the parental interactions and adaption patterns of divorcing parents. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 42, 15–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Whiteside, M. F. (1989). Family rituals as a key to kinship connections in remarried families. Family Relations, 38, 34–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations