Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Couple Family Psychol. 2015 September ; 4(3): 177–197.


HHS Public Access Author manuscript


Copyright 2015 American Psychological Association. Used by permission. "This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record."


Patterns of marital change after the birth of a second child were explored in a sample of 229 married couples, starting in pregnancy, and at 1, 4, 8 and 12 months postpartum. Five trajectory patterns that reflected sudden, persistent decline (i.e., crisis), sudden, short-term decline (i.e., adjustment and adaptation), sudden, short-term gain (i.e., honeymoon effect), linear change, and no change were examined with dyadic, longitudinal data for husbands and wives. Six distinct latent classes emerged using growth mixture modeling: (a) wife decreasing positivity-husband honeymoon (44%), (b) wife increasing conflict-husband adjustment and adaptation (34.5%), (c) wife honeymoon-discrepant spouse positivity (7.4%), (d) wife adjustment and adaptation (6.9%), (e) couple honeymoon with discrepant positivity and negativity (5.2%) and (f) husband adjustment and adaptation (1.7%). Classes were distinguished by individual vulnerabilities (i.e., depression, personality), stresses associated with the transition (i.e., unplanned pregnancy), and adaptive processes (i.e., marital communication, social support). Marital communication, parental depression, and social support emerged as important targets for intervention that can assist parents planning to have additional children.