Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. John Geisler

Second Advisor

Dr. Edward Trembley

Third Advisor

Dr. Herbert Smith


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among variables identified as potentially significant during the transition to second time parenthood. The theoretical framework for this study was based on the Circumplex Model of family systems (Olson, Sprenkle & Russell, 1979; Olson, Russell & Sprenkle, 1983), and a five domain structural model of marital and family adaptation (Cowan & Cowan, 1988).

The convenience sample consisted of 49 Caucasian middle class couples all expecting their second child. This was a one group pretest-posttest design with the birth of the second child functioning as the independent variable. The dependent variables examined in a longitudinal and cross-sectional fashion were the perceptions of second time mothers and fathers in regards to marital adjustment, family functioning (cohesion, adaptability, distance from center score) task management and family relationship concerns.

The Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS) (Spanier, 1976) and the Family Adaptation and Cohesion Evaluation Scale (FACES III) (Olson, Portner & Lavee, 1985) were the estabhshed tools used to measure marital adjustment and family functioning. A tool was constructed to measure task management and the Family Relationships Concerns Questionnaire (FRQ) (Sammons, 1985) was revised so that it would be apphcable to second time fathers.

Second time mothers and fathers demonstrated high levels of marital adjustment and a moderate level of family relationship concerns. These variables maintained consistency over time. For second time mothers in the prenatal and postpartum period, a linear relationship existed between cohesion and the distance from center score, the consensus, satisfaction, and cohesion subscales of the DAS and the total DAS score. For second time fathers, in the postpartum period the cohesion scale was correlated with the distance from center score and the consensus subscale of the DAS.

Second time fathers reported more marital consensus in the postpartum period. Second time mothers reported that they were doing more child care and total task management in the postpartum period.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access