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Marital Quality and Parenting

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Design and Procedure
  3. Measures
  4. Ethical Issues


The variables involved in this research study include marital quality, caregiving representations, adult attachment patterns, and depressive symptoms. The independent variable is marital quality, while the dependent variable is the individual’s caregiving representation. The mediating variables are adult attachment patterns and depressive symptoms.

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To study the association between parents’ marital quality and parenting as a function of parents’ regulatory strategies in the context of depression, this study posits three hypotheses. The first is that there will be an association between marital quality and caregiving representations. The second hypothesis suggests there will be an association between marital quality and caregiving representations such that depression.

Summarize the topics that lead up to your hypotheses. This section will likely draw from some articles you reviewed in your annotated bibliography.

The sample population will include mother-father dyads with at least one child between the ages of 18 months and 5 years of age. All participants will complete an informed consent form before continuing, and are free to stop participation at any time. The sample will include only heterosexual couples so as to maintain stability and continuity from past research. Participants of varying ethnic backgrounds, socio-economic statuses, ages, educational backgrounds, and employments will be included. Participants will be randomly sampled and recruited through a recruitment letter and an online Survey Monkey link that will be available on flyers, various social media websites, distributed at parenting centers, preschools and kindergartens.

Design and Procedure

This study will entail a qualitative research design, in which data will be collected and analyzed based on participants’ responses. As mentioned, participants will be gathered through a recruitment letter and an online Survey Monkey link that will allow participants to anonymously provide information to the questions asked. Participants will firstly complete informed consent, and upon agreement, will answer a Demographic Questionnaire, the Marital Adjustment Test (MAT; Locke & Wallace, 1959), the Caregiving Experiences Questionnaire (CEQ; Brennan, George, & Solomon, 2013), the Reciprocal Attachment Questionnaire (RAQ; West, Sheldon-Keller, & Reiffer, 1987), and the Beck Depression Inventory – Short Form (BDI-SF; Beck, Ward, Mendelson, Mock, & Erbaugh, 1961). Upon completion of the survey, participants will be thanked for their participation.

Data will be gathered from participants who completed all questionnaires in the survey. Preliminary analyses will be conducted to determine any significant correlations among the demographic variables. Analyses will then be conducted to determine any significant associations between a) marital quality and caregiving representations, and b) marital quality and caregiving representations with adult attachment pattern as the mediator for parents with varying severity of depressive symptoms.


The Reciprocal Attachment Questionnaire (RAQ; West, Sheldon-Keller, & Reiffer, 1987), which has test-retest reliability of .82, a Cronbach’s α of .85, assesses adult attachment to a specific attachment figure. The current study will ask participants to think of, and describe feelings in relation to, their spouse or partner as their attachment figure while completing the questions.

The 15-item questionnaire includes five scales, with convergent validity ranging from .77 to .89 for the scales. There are proximity seeking items such as, “ I have to have my attachment figure with me when I’m upset,” separation protest items such as, “I resent it when my attachment figure spends time away from me,” feared loss items such as, “I feel abandoned when my attachment figure is away for a few days,” availability items such as, “I am confident that my attachment figure will try to understand my feelings,” and use items such as, “Things have to be really bad for me to ask my attachment figure for help.”

Participants were asked to use a five-point Likert scale to rate the items as either strongly disagree (1), disagree (2), somewhat agree/somewhat disagree (3), agree (4), or strongly agree (5). When scoring, each item is given either a reverse score or a direct score and then calculated and analyzed.

Ethical Issues

Due to the nature of the study and the participation of human subjects, the study will likely go through an expedited IRB review process, as there is no deception involved and the risks are minimal. Primary risk involves causing participants some psychological risk (i.e. emotional distress and discomfort) as they answer questions about potential depressive symptoms and their intimate relationships.

This study conforms to the Belmont principles of respect, beneficence, and justice. The first principle of respect means that individuals will participate with full informed and voluntary consent, they hold the right to withdraw at any time, there are no coercive recruitment practices, and there is no use of deception. This study addresses and conforms to the aforementioned criteria, as individuals will only be given the survey after full informed consent. They are also free to withdraw and stop taking the survey at any time for any given reason without disclosure. Individuals will not be forced to participate, as they exercise free will in choosing to take the survey. Lastly, there is no deception involved, as the recruitment letter will state that individuals are invited to participate in a survey that will ask questions about their intimate relationship with their spouse or partner and their parenting.

The principle of beneficence requires that the risks of the research do not outweigh the benefits. The potential risk involved is the experience of slight discomfort and emotional distress while participants answer questions about their relationship to their partner or spouse, questions about how they perceive themselves as a parent and their relationship with their child, and questions about any depressive symptoms. While the emotional distress should not be too unbearable, if any given participant wishes to stop completing the survey, he/she is free to stop at anytime. The benefits of the study and the implications for the field of psychology and greater population are greater than minor emotional distress.

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The final principle of justice implies that selection for participation should be fair and all groups should receive the benefits of participation. The study conforms to the principle of justice because the survey is open to the public. While the study requires heterosexual relationships and the requirement to be the parent to a child who is between 18 months and 5 years of age, the requirements are to stand by past normative data and to adhere to the criterion for a measure, respectively.

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