Does dyadic coping predict couple’s postpartum quality of life? Exploring longitudinal actor and partner effects


  • S. Alves
  • A. Fonseca
  • M.C. Canavarro
  • M. Pereira


Background: The transition to parenthood can negatively impact couple’s quality of life (QoL). Although the role of partner against poorer adjustment has been acknowledged, existing research mainly focused on psychopathological outcomes and a dyadic approach has been rarely undertaken. This study examined changes in dyadic coping (DC) and QoL over time, and explored DC long-term influences on the QoL of both women and their partners. Methods: 105 couples completed the Dyadic Coping Inventory and the EUROHIS-QOL 8-item index, during the second trimester of pregnancy (T0) and at 6 weeks postpartum (T1). Repeated-measures MANOVAs and multiple linear regressions were performed. Findings: Women reported higher DC enacted by oneself than men (p < .001), and a significant decrease in common DC (how couples cope together with stress) from T0 to T1 was found (p < .01). Women’s QoL at T1 was negatively predicted by men’s perception of common DC at T0 (p < .05). Men’s QoL at T1 was positively predicted by their own perception of common DC (p < .01), and by women’s perception of DC enacted by oneself (p < .05), but negatively influenced by women’s perception of DC enacted by partner (p < .01). Discussion: Further attention to the different effects of DC on women and their partners’ postpartum QoL is needed, as men seem to benefit most from a shared coping process than women. Given the dyadic interdependence observed in this study, preventive partner-inclusive approaches should be considered, and adjusted to the gender-specific needs of support.





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