Faculty Publications


Withdrawal from coparenting interactions during early infancy.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

James P. McHale

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

January 2008

Date Available

January 2012


This study examines early withdrawal in the coparenting system, and the utility of a brief problem-solving discussion about coparenting responsibilities as a means for evaluating such withdrawal. One hundred and fifteen couples were evaluated both prenatally and at 3 months postpartum. During prenatal assessments, parents rated their personalities and completed marital assessments. After the baby arrived, they completed a negotiation task in which they discussed disputes about parenting roles and responsibilities, and interacted together with the baby in a triadic play assessment. Fathers’ but not mothers’ withdrawal during coparenting negotiations was associated with greater disengagement and less warmth during triadic play and with fathers’ feelings that mothers did not respect their parenting. Fathers’ but not mothers’ withdrawal during coparenting negotiations was also forecast by low ego resilience and by an increase in depressive symptomatology during the postpartum. As the negotiation task appeared to be an effective provocateur of withdrawal when confronting coparenting disagreement, it may prove useful for eliciting this aspect of coparental process in work with couples.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Family Process, 47(4), 481-499. doi:10.1111/j.1545-5300.2008.00267.x Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.




Family Process