The Spillover Effect of Parenting on Marital Satisfaction Among Chinese Mothers

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)772-783
Journal / PublicationJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number3
Online published5 Dec 2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


Marital satisfaction is crucial to mothers’ well-being, as well as parent–child relationship and family functioning. Existing literature has shown the impact of marital relationship on parenting. Yet, there are few studies to examine the impact of parenting on marital satisfaction. Family systems theory postulates that there is a reciprocal association between functioning in the parental and spousal subsystems. This study thus aims to examine the associations of various parenting correlates, including parenting self-efficacy, parenting stress, co-parenting alliance, satisfaction with father involvement, and marital satisfaction of mothers. A cross-sectional survey was conducted and a sample of 1,140 mothers was recruited in this study using convenience sampling from 20 nurseries. After controlling for mothers’ age, education level, and household income, hierarchical regression analyses showed that greater co-parenting alliance, higher satisfaction with father involvement, and lower parenting stress were associated with higher maternal marital satisfaction. Findings support the “spillover” hypothesis in the family systems theory, indicating that positive factors in the parental subsystem are significantly associated with higher marital satisfaction in the spousal subsystem. Measures that cultivate father involvement, alleviate mothers’ parenting stress, and improve co-parenting alliance may be adopted to increase mothers’ marital satisfaction and maintain marital relationship.

Research Area(s)

  • Co-parenting alliance, Father involvement, Marital satisfaction, Parenting self-efficacy, Parenting stress