Not a “Mom Thing”: Predictors of Gatekeeping in Same-Sex and Heterosexual Parent Families

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The current study is the first to examine parental gatekeeping in both same-sex (57 female, 51 male) and heterosexual (n = 82) couples, all of whom became parents via adoption. Aspects of the individual, the couple, and the work context, measured preadoption, were examined as predictors of gatekeeping. Gatekeeping refers to attitudes and behaviors aimed at regulating and limiting the involvement of the other parent in housework and child care and was measured 2 years postadoption. Findings revealed that women in heterosexual relationships reported higher gatekeeping compared with all other groups, and men in same-sex relationships reported higher gatekeeping compared with women in same-sex relationships and men in heterosexual relationships. Across the full sample, lower job autonomy predicted higher gatekeeping in both housework and child care, whereas greater relationship ambivalence, greater perceived parenting skill, and lower perceived partner parenting skill predicted higher gatekeeping in child care. Findings provide insight into how gatekeeping behaviors and beliefs are enacted in diverse types of couples and suggest that work factors should be taken into account when conducting research on, and seeking to improve, coparenting relationships.

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