Abstract

A family systems framework was used to examine associations between stressors/hassles, problem-focused coping, and marital adjustment in 67 families of young children with disabilities. Most of the couples were experiencing average to above average marital adjustment. When daily stressors/hassles were higher, husbands and wives viewed their marriages more negatively. After variance contributed by stressors/hassles was statistically controlled, fathers who employed more problem-focused coping strategies were more positive about their marriages. For wives (but not husbands), a cross-spousal partner effect was found; women reported higher marital adjustment when their husbands employed more problem-focused coping strategies. We reaffirmed the systemic nature of family processes and highlighted the role of parent gender in understanding the relationships among stressors, coping, and marital well-being.

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