This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Ecological Perspective on Coparenting During Infancy: Exploring Associations among Social Support, Mental Health, and Parental Burnout




Fenn, Haley

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Human Development and Family Science

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



The months following the birth of a new child can be a stressful time for parents. The way in which partners work together to share parenting responsibilities (i.e., coparent) is especially important for navigating the challenges of parenting during infancy. However, less is known about how coparenting relationship quality relates to parents’ psychological adjustment, including parental burnout. Grounded in Feinberg’s (2003) ecological model of coparenting, this study explored the associations among perceived social support, anxiety/depressive symptoms, coparenting relationship quality, and parental burnout in a sample of U.S. mothers and fathers with 3- to 12-month-old infants. Participants (n = 128; 69 mothers, 59 fathers) were recruited online from Amazon Mechanical Turk (i.e., MTurk). Participants were predominately White, college-educated, married parents. Results from a path analysis revealed that anxiety/depressive symptoms were tied strongly to burnout, suggesting that these mental health symptoms explain the link between perceived social support and burnout among this sample of parents with infants. In addition, there were no significant differences in study variables, including self-reported parental burnout, between mothers and fathers. Findings from this study contribute to the growing literature on coparenting and burnout among U.S. parents with infants and help to inform prevention-based practices for families, researchers, therapists, and family life educators.