The moderating role of relationship satisfaction and parenting quality on negative child behavior in re-partnered couples
The disruption divorce poses on children’s adjustment and behavior across the lifespan has been well examined. Scholars have paid less attention to the tenacity and ambiguous beauty of stepfamilies who cultivate the re-partnered couple dyadic relationship. This current study deconstructed the binary of intact and broken families by focusing on the restoration and resiliency of stepfamilies. Attachment theory is the framework for this current study, as stepfamilies and their experience cannot initially be inferred through a structural or pertinent lens. This study used a subset of biological mother participants from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) (N = 404). This study examined negative child outcomes following divorce and its link to negative child outcomes following re-partnering. Furthermore, the present quantitative study explored whether relationship satisfaction and parenting quality between the re-partnered couple buffered the expected continuum between negative child outcomes following divorce and re-partnering. Results suggest that negative child outcomes following divorce predicted negative child outcomes following re-partnering. Relationship satisfaction had a moderation effect on the causal effect between negative child outcomes following divorce and re-partnering. Limitations, implications, and directions for future research are discussed.