Coparenting and Parenting Outcomes of Online Relationship Interventions for Low-Income Couples

Mar 2021 | Le, Y., O'Reilly Treter, M., Roddy, M. K., & Doss, B. D.


Web-based relationship programs are effective in improving low-income couples’ relationship functioning. However, little is known about: (a) whether parenting couples presenting for relationship help also have difficulties in coparenting and parenting, (b) whether relationship-focused programs can improve these two domains, and (c) whether program effects differ across baseline levels of those domains. We examined these questions in a parenting subsample (Nindividuals = 934) and a coparenting subsample (Ndyads = 342) of low-income couples participating in a randomized controlled trial of two web-based relationship education programs—the OurRelationship (OR) program and the ePREP program. Although the majority of participants were relationally distressed at baseline, most coparents (83%) reported parenting well together. Parents “often” engaged in nurturing behaviors and “hardly ever” or “sometimes” felt overwhelmed by their parenting responsibilities. Among parents who had engaged in the harsh verbal discipline (59%) and physical discipline (28%) in the past month, the average frequency was 4.08 and 5.50 times per month, respectively. Moreover, compared to waitlist control parents, parents in OR but not ePREP reported significantly greater improvements in parental nurturance and harsh verbal discipline during the program. There was no evidence of program effects on coparenting, physical discipline, or parenting stress for OR or ePREP, nor was there any evidence of baseline functioning moderating program effects. Findings suggested that most low-income parents seeking relationship help did not have severe problems in coparenting or parenting and that effective relationship programs without a focus on coparenting and/or parenting had somewhat limited effects on these domains. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

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