Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Barry Markman


An emerging body of research is identifying factors which put individuals at risk for experiencing a difficult adjustment during the transition to parenthood. The purpose of this study was to test a model for the prediction and identification of paternal risk factors. Forty seven couples expecting their first child were the subjects. Questionnaires which assessed paternal expectations regarding parenthood and prenatal marital satisfaction were administered in the third trimester of their wife's pregnancy. Two months postpartum, a second questionnaire was administered which included measures of paternal violated expectations, paternal postpartum marital satisfaction, paternal stress, infant temperament, maternal marital satisfaction, maternal postpartum depression, the presence of external support and maternal change in employment status. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to identify which variables significantly predicted the presence of postpartum paternal stress. In general, two hypotheses were supported. Paternal postpartum stress was predicted by (1) higher quality of paternal marital satisfaction assessed prenatally, and (2) infants' whose temperaments were paternally assessed as slowly adaptable, less persistent, and more distractable. Statistically significant bivariate correlations were also identified among the predictor variables. Paternal prenatal marital satisfaction was positively correlated with maternal and paternal postpartum marital satisfaction, and a higher incidence of paternal violated expectations. A higher quality of maternal marital satisfaction was correlated with a lower incidence of maternal postpartum depression. Various infant temperament subscales were correlated with other temperament subscales and with some of the predictor variables. The clinical and research implications associated the findings of this study were discussed.