Examining Union Stability in Context: A Meditation and Moderation Approach
Elizabeth F. Karberg, University of Maryland
Natasha Cabrera, University of Maryland
Research shows that union transition (change in relationship status) is associated with increased externalizing problem behaviors (EPB) in early childhood. However, it is not well understood why union transition is positively related to children’s EPB. This paper will examine the mechanisms underlying the association between union transitions and children’s EPB at age 5. Framing our research with Feinberg’s theory of coparenting, we use the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing dataset to address the following research questions: (1) How are union transitions during early childhood associated with child EPB at age 5? (2) Does co-parenting support mediate the association between union transitions and children’s EPB at age 5? And (3) does couple quality moderate the association between union transitions and children’s EPB at age 5? Preliminary results support our hypothesis, indicating that the association between union transitions and child EPB is buffered by couple quality and partially mediated by coparenting support.