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A Life-Cycle Approach to Treating Couples by Anne K. Fishel

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CHAPTER 3

Transition to Parenthood

Expanding the Dyad

A good marriage is a risk factor for having children.

—Tom Bradbury, UCLA marital researcher

The transformation from being a childless couple to having a baby is the most exciting and stressful transition in the marital life cycle. Many researchers have found that about two-thirds of new parents experience a moderate to severe decline in marital quality during the first two years after the birth of a first child (Belsky & Rovine, 1990; Cowan & Cowan, 1999; Gottman & Gottman, 2007). When compared with childless couples, married a comparable number of years, couples with children under the age of two years experience more conflict and less marital satisfaction (Crohan, 1996; Doss et al., 2009; ...

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