Graduation Year


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Faculty Advisor

Regina Kuersten-Hogan


Parent and infant, Parenting, Family relationships


Past research uncovered different antecedents, which influence the coparenting relationship including environmental supports and stressors, individual parent and child characteristics, and the couple relationship, though no prior study to date has investigated the impact of birth narratives on coparenting. The main purpose in the present study was to explore links between partners’ conjointly constructed birth narratives and coparenting dynamics preceding and following the birth of couples’ first child. Fifty-five couples’ coparenting interactions were observed during their last trimester of pregnancy (Prenatal Lausanne Trilogue Play) and at 3- (Postnatal Lausanne Trilogue play) and 12- months postpartum (Triadic play and mealtime interactions). At 3 months, couples were also asked to narrate the story of their child’s birth and of their early postpartum experience. Birth narratives were coded for narrative coherence, verbal and nonverbal emotional expressiveness, quality of coparenting, triadic capacity, and global views of the family and the coparenting relationship. Findings indicated that couples with more supportive prenatal and postpartum coparenting dynamics constructed more cohesive birth narratives at 3 months postpartum. Couples with more supportive prenatal and 3-months coparenting also expressed more positive emotions during their narratives, though these same associations were not found between positive expressiveness during birth stories and 12-months coparenting dynamics. A greater triadic focus during birth narratives was also associated with observed coparenting dynamics, though more commonly during concurrently observed interactions at 3 months rather than during prenatal or 12-months interactions. Findings suggest that birth narratives represent another paradigm which coparenting researchers should further explore to tap into the various contextual influences of coparenting across the transition to parenthood.