Faculty Publications


Improvements in unmarried African American parents’ rapport, communication, and problem-solving following a prenatal coparenting intervention.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

James P. McHale

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

January 2015

Date Available

March 2015




This report examines effects of a coparenting intervention designed for and delivered to expectant unmarried African American mothers and fathers on observed interaction dynamics known to predict relationship adjustment. Twenty families took part in the six-session “Figuring It Out for the Child” (FIOC) dyadic intervention offered in a faith-based human services agency during the third trimester of the mother’s pregnancy, and completed a postpartum booster session 1 month after the baby’s arrival. Parent referrals for the FIOC program were received from a county Health Department and from OBGYNs and Pregnancy Centers in the targeted community. All intervention sessions were delivered by a trained male–female paraprofessional team whose fidelity to the FIOC manualized curriculum was independently evaluated by a team of trained analysts. At both the point of intake (“PRE”) and again at an exit evaluation completed 3 months postpartum (“POST”), the mothers and fathers were videotaped as they completed two standardized “revealed differences” conflict discussions. Blinded videotapes of these sessions were evaluated using the System for Coding Interactions in Dyads. Analyses documented statistically significant improvements on 8 of 12 variables examined, with effect sizes ranging from moderate to large. Overall, 14 families demonstrated beneficial outcomes, 3 did not improve, and 3 showed some signs of decline from the point of intake. For most interaction processes, PRE to POST improvements were unrelated to degree of adherence the paraprofessional interventionists showed to the curriculum. However, better interventionist competence was related to decreases in partners’ Coerciveness and Negativity and Conflict, and to smaller increases in partner Withdrawal. Implications of the work for development and delivery of community-based coparenting interventions for unmarried parents are discussed.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Family Process, doi: 10.1111/famp.12147. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.




Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.