The Family System and Determinants of Parent-Child Relationship Quality

Open Access
Brown, Amy Maria
Graduate Program:
Master of Arts
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
June 24, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Dr Alan Booth, Thesis Advisor
  • Barrett Alan Lee, Thesis Advisor
  • David R Johnson, Thesis Advisor
  • Melissa Hardy, Thesis Advisor
  • fathering
  • parent-child relationship quality
The objective of my research is twofold: 1) to examine which processes in the family system shape parent-child relations and 2) compare whether these processes are different for mothers versus fathers. These processes include the division of paid and domestic labor, marital quality, perceptions of fairness regarding domestic labor, parental depression and parental involvement with children. I address these objectives using the National Survey of Families and Households, using measures derived from father, mother, and child respondents. A series of OLS regression analyses reveals similarity in the processes the contribute to both mother-child and father-child relationship quality, with evidence supporting a spillover effect of marital satisfaction into the parent-child relationship. However, modeling the effect of mother characteristics on father-child relationship quality shows that discord within the marital dyad due to perceptions of unfairness has implications for father-child relationship quality.