Featured research (4)

Background: During the transition to parenthood, a complex network of relationships unfolds between father, mother and the child. Expectant parents begin bonding with their unborn child, with this antenatal process supposedly being predictive for later postnatal attachment and child mental health. At the same time, couples may experience a change in partnership quality. While the majority of previous studies focused on associations between psychopathology, partnership quality and attachment from the perspective of mothers, the changes in partnership quality and attachment from the perspective of fathers has gained far less attention. Methods: Data were derived from the M aternal A nxiety and it's R elation to I nfants' Development (MARI) study. N = 109 expectant fathers were recruited during mid-pregnancy (22 to 26 week of gestation). Lifetime anxiety and depressive disorders (DSM-IV) were assessed with a standardized diagnostic interview (CIDI). Paternal partnership characteristics and father-to-child attachments were assessed using standardized questionnaires at the second trimester, 10 days after delivery and 4 months after delivery in N = 76 fathers. Analyses were based on bivariate, robust and multivariate regression analyses. Results: Fathers did not report an overall decrease in partnership quality during the peripartum period. However, fathers with comorbid anxiety and depressive disorders reported lower partnership satisfaction at postpartum, as compared to unaffected fathers. Fathers with pure depressive disorders reported lower intensity of antenatal attachment. Paternal antenatal partnership quality was positively associated with antenatal father-to-child attachment. Furthermore, antenatal father-to-child attachment, as well as ante- and postnatal partnership quality in fathers, were positively related to postnatal father-to-child attachment. Conclusions: Antenatal father-to-child-attachment and paternal partnership quality appear to be promising targets for the prevention of postnatal attachment problems in fathers. The associations between partnership quality and attachment to the child further support an interpersonal approach in perinatal research, treatment and intervention, and may also feed into awareness programs that encourage expectant fathers to actively engage in relationships as early as during pregnancy—both with the mother and the unborn child.
Introduction: Parental cognitions may directly and indirectly contribute to infant sleep outcomes. This review provides a systematic up-to-date overview of the associations between parental cognitions and infant sleep problems with special emphasis on temporal relationships and the content of parental cognitions. Methods: A systematic literature research in PubMed and Web of Science Core Collection sensu Liberati and PRISMA guidelines was carried out in March 2020 using the search terms (parent * AND infant * AND sleep * problem * ), including studies with correlational or control group designs investigating associations between parental cognitions and sleep problems in children aged 1–6 years. Results: Twenty-three studies (published from 1985 to 2016) met inclusion criteria, of which 14 reported group differences or associations between parental sleep-related cognitions and child sleep outcomes. Nine papers additionally reported on the role of general parental child-related cognitions not directly pertaining to sleep. Findings from longitudinal studies suggest that parental cognitions often preceded child sleep problems. Cognitions pertaining to difficulties with limit-setting were especially prevalent in parents of poor sleepers and were positively associated with both subjective and objective measures of child sleep outcomes. Conclusions: Parental cognitions appear to play a pivotal role for the development and maintenance of sleep problems in young children, arguing that parents' attitudes and beliefs regarding child sleep inadvertently prompts parental behavior toward adverse sleep in offspring. Associations are however based on maternal reports and small to moderate effect sizes. Thus, additional parental factors such as mental health or self-efficacy, as well as additional offspring factors including temperamental dispositions and regulatory abilities, require consideration in further studies.
Evaluation of a Manualized Group Program for Siblings of Children with Diseases or Disabilities This study evaluates a manualized group program for siblings of children with life-threatening/life-limiting diseases or disabilities. The program aims to activate resources and to reduce emotional and behavioral problems, using cognitive-behavioral methods and experience-based interventions. In this multi-center study, 13 GeschwisterTREFFs were conducted by 11 study sites in Germany. Prior to and after the intervention 97 siblings aged 7 to 14 years and their parents were examined with standardized questionnaires. At baseline, the siblings of children with diseases or disabilities showed significant more emotional and behavioral problems compared to the respective norm samples. After the intervention, the siblings reported declined problem behavior scores that were mostly in the range of the particular norm values. Furthermore, the children indicated a significant improvement of self-esteem, self-efficacy, school competences and relations to their siblings. However, parents reported more problem behavior and less health-related quality of life of their children at both assessments. The present multi-center study showed the interventions' feasibility in different settings and confirmed expected improvements of target variables during the intervention period. Randomized-controlled trails are warranted to verify our results.
This study investigated the association of individual and dyadic coping strategies with fear of progression (FoP) in mothers and fathers of children with hematologic cancer. Parental couples (N = 44) whose children had been diagnosed with hematologic cancer were recruited at a university hospital and a rehabilitation clinic in Germany between 03/2017 and 08/2017. Data included parents' self-report on FoP (Fear of Progression Questionnaire-parent version, FoP-Q-SF/PR), individual coping (Coping Health Inventory for Parents, CHIP-D), and dyadic coping (Dyadic Coping Inventory, DCI). Statistical analyses were carried out for mothers and fathers individually as well as for parental couples using dyadic data analyses (e.g., actor-partner interdependence model, APIM). Individual and dyadic coping strategies were significantly correlated with FoP in mothers, but not in fathers. Fathers' evaluation of the couple's dyadic coping significantly predicted mothers' FoP. The more frequent use of familial integration (CHIP-D FAM) and maintaining social support (CHIP-D SUP) as well as a better evaluation of their partners' dyadic coping was significantly associated with lower FoP in mothers. Differences in individual and dyadic coping in parental couples were not associated with FoP. Individual and dyadic coping strategies should be addressed in the psychosocial care of mothers and fathers of children with hematologic cancer. Study results support the benefits of involving fathers in psychosocial interventions, for example, in couple-based interventions that acknowledge interpersonal effects of coping on FoP. Future research should further explore coping strategies applied by fathers of children with hematologic cancer for the regulation of FoP. © 2019 Family Process Institute.

Lab head

Julia Martini
  • Institute and Outpatient Clinics of Psychiatrics and Psychotherapy

Members (4)

Holger Christiansen
  • University of Leipzig
Florian Schepper
  • University of Leipzig
Katharina Clever
  • MEDIAN Zentrum für Rehabilitation Schmannewitz
Jessy Herrmann
  • University of Leipzig