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Good Partners, Good Parents: Parent Relationship Satisfaction Predicts Parenting Efficacy for Young Children


Both maternal and paternal parental involvement are critical for child development. What is unclear, nonetheless, is how parents’ own relationships contribute to the growth of children. Addressing the question, we predicted marital satisfaction strengthens parenting efficacy, making parental involvement more effective in increasing children’s functioning. To test the hypothesis, we analyzed a nationally representative large-sample survey of 3-year-olds (N = 2164), wherein their language, cognitive, social, and emotional development, maternal and paternal parental involvement, as well as the marital satisfaction of the parents were assessed. The results supported the predictions by showing the critical role of fathers—the mother parents through the father in a satisfying marriage, more than she does in a dissatisfying marriage, and their young children subsequently grow better when their parents are satisfying partners. Together, the findings reveal potential mechanisms through which well-being may be passed down from one generation to the next.

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Fig. 1


  1. In the present research, by family, we only refer to heterosexual homogamous family, because it is how family is defined in the secondary data we used.


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Correspondence to Yen-Ping Chang.

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Given the current research used online publicly available, deidentified secondary data as indicated in the manuscript, it complies with the Taiwanese ethical standards and requirements as well as those of the APA even though we did not request for an ethics review of the research. We report no conflicts of interest.

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Chen, MT., Lin, GX., Lu, C. et al. Good Partners, Good Parents: Parent Relationship Satisfaction Predicts Parenting Efficacy for Young Children. Applied Research Quality Life 17, 2405–2422 (2022).

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