Baby talk: Decision making conversations about first-time parenthood
This study explored how 214 participants discussed, decided, and planned for first-time parenthood with their partners, and how conflict influenced that process. As predicted, higher scores on the communication danger signs scale were associated with lower perceived partner reciprocity and relationship dedication scores in general. Specifically, reciprocity and dedication were both significant predictors of constructive communication during participants’ decision making conversations about first-time parenthood. Reciprocity was the only significant predictor of self-demand/partner-withdraw (SDPW) behavior, and decision making self-esteem, dedication, and reciprocity were all significant predictors of partner-demand/self-withdraw (PDSW) behavior during these talks. Findings have implications for relationship educators and therapists, as protective factors were identified that may buffer couples through these often emotionally-charged discussions about first-time parenthood, which have the potential for heightened conflict, uncertainty, and stress.