Typologies of Daily Relationship Quality in Marital and Parent–Child Subsystems: Implications for Child Adjustment

Doctoral Dissertation


The ways in which the marital relationship (MR) affects parent–child relationship (PCR) on a daily basis has important implications for children’s developmental outcomes. Most research on this topic, however, has employed a regression-based analytical approach; consequently, the dynamic, day-to-day fluctuations of MR–PCR associations, as well as the heterogeneous, between-family differences, have been largely overlooked. My dissertation project aimed to: (1) understand the within-family variability in the MR–PCR dynamics; (2) identify typologies based on families’ emotional dynamics; and (3) test the associations between family typologies and child adjustment. Different daily MR–PCR typologies were found for fathers and mothers: while the cohesive, fluctuating-cohesive, middle-of-the-road, and spillover type were the four typologies emerged most consistently for fathers and mothers, a compensatory typology was only identified for mothers in this study. Results also showed that externalizing behaviors (reported separately by parents and teachers) were the highest in children of parents in the spillover typology than those in other typologies. Moreover, for families who were characterized by positive family dynamics (that is, families in the cohesive and fluctuating-cohesive types), higher variability of MR–PCR emotional states was related to more child adjustment problems. The findings shed light on the developmental implications of the variability and typology of family emotional dynamics, furthering our current understanding of the interrelatedness between marital and parent–child subsystems.


Attribute NameValues
Author Mengyu (Miranda) Gao
Contributor Cindy Bergeman, Committee Member
Contributor E. Mark Cummings, Research Director
Contributor Dawn Gondoli, Committee Member
Contributor Guangjian Zhang, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Psychology
Degree Name Doctor of Philosophy
Banner Code

Defense Date
  • 2019-06-11

Submission Date 2019-07-09
  • Systems Theory

  • Family

  • Developmental Psychology

  • English

Record Visibility and Access Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units
Catalog Record


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