Coming to terms with coparenting: Implications of definition and measurement

Laurie A.Van Egeren, Dyane P. Hawkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

235 Scopus citations


Coparenting is a complex construct that shares characteristics with other areas of the family system. In an effort to increase clarity surrounding conceptualizations of coparenting, definitions are proposed based on the external (the who, what, and where) and the internal (the what) structures that bound the coparenting construct. A framework of 4 coparenting dimensions that cross methodological boundaries is presented, and includes coparenting solidarity, coparenting support, undermining coparenting, and shared parenting. In analyses of data collected longitudinally from 62 couples when children were aged 6 months and 3 years, the coparenting dimensions were for the most part significantly associated between and within mothers and fathers. Notably, undermining coparenting was negatively related to coparenting support for fathers, but unrelated for mothers. Links between several distinct indicators within each coparenting dimension and marital outcomes were assessed to demonstrate the ramifications for choosing one measure of coparenting over another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-178
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Adult Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • coparenting
  • family relationships
  • fathers
  • marriage
  • parenting alliance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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