Grounded on Belsky’s process model and family systems theories and using an actor–partner interdependency modeling (APIM) approach (Belsky & Jaffee, 2006; Cox & Paley, 2003), the current study was the first to examine whether Big Five personality characteristics and depressive symptoms of parents and their partners are related to adolescent-perceived parenting behavior directly and indirectly via interparental stress experienced by both parents. Longitudinal data (Time 1: 2001; Time 2: 2007; and Time 3: 2009) from a large community sample of Flemish families was used (N 455; Time 1 children: Mage 7.10 years). Results revealed that, for both parents, more agreeableness and autonomy predicted more parental warmth, and more depressive symptoms and lower agreeableness predicted more overreactive discipline (i.e., actor effects). Both parents’ depressive symptoms predicted their own interparental stress (i.e., actor effects). Regarding partner-effects, paternal overreactive discipline was shaped by mother’s extraversion and experienced interparental stress, and paternal warmth was affected by mother’s experienced interparental stress in addition to fathers’ own psychological resources. In contrast, maternal parenting was affected by their own psychological resources only. Although no consistent mediating role of interparental stress was found, one small dyadic indirect effect indicated that maternal depressive symptoms were related to more paternal overreactive discipline via heightened levels of interparental stress experienced by both parents. These results provide new support for the idea of interdependency between parents and specifically support the fathering vulnerability hypothesis. Tentatively, this study informs clinical practice by showing that family interventions aiming to improve parenting should pay attention to specific personality characteristics affecting parenting behavior and adopt a dyadic approach including both parents, especially when targeting paternal parenting.

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Journal of Family Psychology

van Eldik, W., de Haan, A., Arends, L., Belsky, J., & Prinzie, P. (2019). Personality, Depressive Symptoms, the Interparental Relationship and Parenting. Journal of Family Psychology, 33(6), 671–681. doi:10.1037/fam0000553