Phases in the Family Unit and their Link to Maternal and Marital Experiences

Michal Einav, Moria Hershkovits, Tomer Schmidt-Barad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Research and interventions have focused on the transition into parenthood and the challenges and consequences surrounding this change. The current study, however, examined whether the marital experience of individuals changes and develops according to various phases in their family unit, specifically those related to their personal, parental and marital practices. The study involved three groups (N = 137): pregnant women expecting their first child (n = 38), mothers with one child (n = 40) and mothers of two children or more (n = 59). These participants answered questionnaires examining their sense of coherence, maternal efficacy, maternal satisfaction and satisfaction with their marital relationship. Results indicated that mothers with one child reported the highest levels of maternal efficacy and maternal satisfaction. Furthermore, there was a positive correlation between maternal efficacy and maternal satisfaction, as well as between maternal satisfaction, coherence and relationship satisfaction. Finally, results indicated that maternal efficacy mediated the link between maternal phases and maternal satisfaction. These findings highlight that the maternal role is a dynamic one, in which the experience of the mother changes and is re-shaped according to the phase in which the family is in. In addition, there are reciprocal influences with the quality of the marital relationship. Future research and clinical implications of the findings are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-480
Number of pages14
JournalPsychological Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India.


  • Maternal and marital satisfaction
  • Maternal efficacy
  • Primiparous and multiparous mothers
  • Sense of coherence
  • Transition to parenthood


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