A Prenatal Intervention to Support Coparenting in Unmarried African American Family Systems

Feb 2021 | James P. McHale, Carla Stover, & Katherine McKay


Lower socioeconomic African American families have historically been underrepresented in observational studies of coparenting, particularly unmarried African American families in which mothers and fathers are parenting their shared children together in both co-residential and non-co-residential living arrangements. This bias exists because most prior studies have been influenced by deficit-based, rather than strengths-based, views of coparenting within unmarried families, often referred to in the literature as "fragile families". This chapter details a program of work established to help understand the development of early coparenting alliances in unmarried African American families transitioning to new coparenthood. The studies outlined in this chapter have each been conducted with parents who came together during the mother's pregnancy to take part in a community-based prenatal coparenting intervention called "Figuring It Out for the Child". They highlight several important considerations for scholars seeking to understand family strengths and potentialities. 

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