Eric D. Widmer

Widmer, E.D., Legoff, J.-M., Hammer, R., Kellerhals, J., Levy,R. (2006). Embedded Parenting? The influence of Conjugal Networks on Parent-Child Relationships. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, vol. 23, n 3, pp. 387-306.

Using data from a large survey on family functioning in Switzerland, this paper explores the extent to which various types of conjugal networks affect several crucial dimensions of parenting and parent-child relationships, such as problems in the assumption of parental roles, parent-child disagreements, quality of parent-child relationships and parental worries about the child. Results show that conjugal networks have significant indirect and direct effects on parent-child relationships but no significant buffering effect. Bicentric conjugal networks are singled out as associated with improved parenting practices and parent-child relationships, compared to all other types of conjugal networks. Effects of bicentric networks are indirect: They strengthen the conjugal subsystem and improve the psychological well-being of parents. Interfering networks and unicentric networks have negative direct effects on some but not all dimensions of parenting and parent child relationships considered. We further discuss the importance of the results for the understanding of parenting and parent-child relationships within larger relational contexts than the nuclear family.
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