Family Alliance Stability and Change From Pregnancy to Toddlerhood and Marital Correlates


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Abstract

This paper presents a longitudinal study of the development of family interactions from pregnancy to toddlerhood, and their link to parents' marital satisfaction. The participants consisted of 38 non referred primiparous families. We used an observational setting, the Lausanne Trilogue Play (LTP), to evaluate the family alliance, namely the interactive coordination between family members. Families played a virtual interaction with a doll at the 5th month of pregnancy, and then played with the child at 3, 9 and 18 months. Results show that for 30 families, the quality of family interactions is the same at every point of measurement whereas for 8 families, there is a significant decrease of quality of interactions from pregnancy to 18 months. Those families are paradoxically the ones with the highest self-reported marital satisfaction. Implications of the results are discussed.

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