Coparenting in teen mothers and their children's fathers: Evidence from the early childhood longitudinal study-birth cohort

Amy Lewin, Stephanie J. Mitchell, Lee S. Beers, Mark E. Feinberg, Cynthia S. Minkovitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: (1) To describe coparenting among adolescent mothers and the biological fathers of their children. (2) To examine the effects of coparenting on young children's social-emotional development and whether these effects vary by father's residence status, parental education, and child characteristics. Methods: Secondary analysis was conducted with the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, which is a nationally representative sample of U.S. children born in 2001. The subsample used in this study includes 400 children whose biological mothers, aged 15-19, participated when their children were 2 years and 4 years old and whose biological fathers (residential and nonresidential) participated at 4 years. Cooperative coparenting and coparenting conflict were measured at child age 2 years. Children's social skills and problem behavior were measured at child age 4 years. Results: Mother- and father-reported coparenting conflict were associated with child behavior problems, more strongly among boys (b = 1.31, P < .01) than girls (b = -0.13, P > .05). Mother-reported coparenting conflict also predicted lower child social skills (b = -1.28, P < .05); the association of father-reported coparenting conflict with social skills was moderated by child race and father education. Conclusions: Coparenting conflict between adolescent parents influences child adjustment. Practitioners working with teen mothers should encourage father participation at medical visits and other clinical contacts and should address the relationship between the parents, whether or not they are living together, as part of routine care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-545
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic pediatrics
Volume12
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012

Keywords

  • child behavior
  • coparenting
  • teen parents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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