Yes, men have a harder time than women adjusting to life as new parents. But that blanket statement covers up important differences between individual men and women—specifically how those differences affect couples making the transition to parenthood, according to a new study.
Maybe this goes without saying, but men and women respond differently when the stork comes calling, reporting different levels of satisfaction with their relationships depending on their individual childcare responsibilities. Beyond the somewhat obvious child-rearing friction, Jennifer Fillo and colleagues write in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, psychologists are sort of in the dark about how men and women really feel toward one another once the babies come along. In particular, they don’t know much about how individual psychological factors like attachment avoidance—being distrustful of close relationships and avoiding relying on anyone else—interact with gender, childcare, and satisfaction in romantic entanglements.
To begin sorting that out, Fillo and her team surveyed 192 couples five times over their first two years as parents to probe issues including attachment avoidance, sense of self-efficacy in caring for their children, contributions to childcare relative to their partners, and relationship satisfaction.
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