Pre-parenthood Sense of Self and the Adjustment to the Transition to Parenthood
adolescence, depressive symptom, self-esteem, sense of mastery, transition to parenthood, young adulthood
Journal of Marriage and Family
Objective: The present study examined the moderation role of pre-parenthood self-esteem and sense of mastery in psychological well-being across the transition to parenthood. Background: Past research has identified negative changes in new parents' psychological well-being. Less studied are the protective factors that can alleviate this transition impact. Informed by theories of psychological well-being, the protective role of pre-parenthood positive sense of self in parenthood transitions was examined. Method: Longitudinal data for 2,588 individuals collected from adolescence through their transition to parenthood were analyzed. Pre-parenthood sense-of-self trajectory groups were formed using data collected during adolescence. Piecewise multilevel models were constructed to explore the effect of pre-parenthood sense of self on new parents' psychological well-being measured by depressive symptoms, self-esteem, and sense of mastery. Results: Compared to nonparent peers, the transitions to parenthood lowered new parents' psychological well-being. This aforementioned change differed by pre-parenthood sense-of-self trajectory groups. Contrary to expectations, new parents with high self-esteem or sense of mastery during adolescence experienced greater negative immediate impacts at childbirth, compared to their low sense of self counterparts. Furthermore, new parents with both high pre-parenthood self-esteem and sense of mastery demonstrated gradual declines in sense of self after childbirth. Conclusion: Positive pre-parenthood sense of self during adolescence may not protect individuals against the immediate and longitudinal impact of the transition to parenthood. Implications for research and practice were discussed.
Department of Educational Psychology, Foundations, and Leadership Studies
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Chen, Eva Yi Ju; Tung, Eli Yi Liang; and Enright, Robert D., "Pre-parenthood Sense of Self and the Adjustment to the Transition to Parenthood" (2021). Faculty Publications. 90.