Transition to parenthood: it does not get easier the next time: exploring ways to support well-being among parents with newborns

Susan Liesbeth Ketner, Carolien Gravensteijn, Margot Verschuur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Investing in parents is important because their well-being is
positively related to the development and well-being of their
children. This study investigated which factors predict two
types of parents’ well-being: individual well-being and parenting-
related well-being. Participants were 416 parents (90
fathers, 326 mothers) of a baby (younger than age 1 year
old), both first-time parents and not-first-time parents.
Relationship quality, life skills, parenting skills, and social support
were taken into account. Results show that both types of
well-being have different main predictors. Self-esteem, selfmanagement,
and interpersonal relationship skills contribute
to both types of well-being, suggesting that interventions
aimed at improving these skills could be very beneficial for
parents in their transition to parenthood. Fathers and mothers
differ significantly on several predictors—for example, selfesteem,
self-management, parenting behavior, and empathy
—suggesting they might have different needs for support in
the transition to parenthood. Finally, results show that, though
parents get better at providing basic care for their children,
regarding well-being and relationship quality, not-first-time
parents are not better off then first-time parents. Therefore,
interventions aimed at easing the transition to parenthood
should not only be aimed at first time parents, they might be
more effective for parents who already have children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-291
JournalJournal of family social work
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2019



  • parenthood
  • well-being

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