Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Development and Family Science


Mulvaney, Matthew K.


Coparenting, Divorce, Parenting, Self-Efficacy

Subject Categories

Developmental Psychology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


The purpose of this research was to examine the mechanisms determining coparenting processes in parents following divorce or separation and the implications for the emotional and behavioral outcomes for their young children. The complex associations between parental anxiety, parental self-efficacy, social support, coparent relationship quality, and child problem behaviors were examined. Participants were recruited using Amazon Mechanical Turk and completed a survey regarding their coparenting dynamics. The sample consisted of 322 residents of the United States who had a child between 18 months and 5 years of age and who were no longer living with the child's other parent. Results from this study identified distinct factors derived from the measure of coparenting quality, called coparenting quality interpersonal and coparenting quality instrumental. Coparenting quality instrumental reflected observable, instrumental coparenting behaviors, while coparenting quality interpersonal reflected emotional and interpersonal motivators of coparenting behavior. The results indicated that parents who reported higher levels of self-efficacy also reported higher levels of coparenting quality instrumental, but not interpersonal. The results also indicated that the instrumental factor of coparenting quality mediated the relationship between self-efficacy and child problem behavior while the interpersonal factor of coparenting quality did not mediate that relationship. The results of this research have important implications for future research into the mechanisms linking parenting beliefs, coparental behavior, and the emotional and behavioral outcomes of children of divorced or separated parents.


Open Access