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Family Relations

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Objective: The purpose of this grounded theory qualitative study was to build a theory describing how husband involvement during pregnancy impacts the couple relationship. Background: The transition to parenthood presents a significant life change for couples. Although many couples experience this life cycle change, there is relatively little empirical research on how husbands can meaningfully contribute during pregnancy and how husband involvement influences the couple relationship postpartum. Method: Eleven heterosexual, married couples were interviewed regarding husband involvement during the couple's most recent pregnancy. Data collection included separate interviews with each partner and with each couple. Results: The results are presented in a grounded theory of active husband involvement during pregnancy and its influence on the couple relationship postpartum. Accounts from participants indicate that active husband involvement during pregnancy helps to strengthen the couple relationship postpartum. Active husband involvement consists of four interrelated ingredients: helping with a positive attitude, instrumental support, emotional support, and responding in significant moments. Couples described five distinct ways the couple relationship was enhanced by active husband involvement: increased trust, a more mature relationship, greater love, enhanced communication, and continued support. The theory also includes husbands' efforts to navigate various obstacles to active husband involvement. Conclusion: Active husband involvement during pregnancy consists of many behaviors and leads to strengthened couple relationships postpartum.


Marriage and Family Therapy and Counseling

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EddyB_Diagram_ActveHusbandInvolvement_2020.pdf (117 kB)
Figure 1. Model of Active Husband Involvement

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