Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Science


couples, families & family life, marriage, nursing, parenting, primiparous, Roy Adaptation Model


Using marital interdependence and adaptation to parenthood as exemplars of Roy Adaptation Model concepts of Interdependence and Role Function, this study investigated relationships between prenatal expectations and postpartum realities of marital interdependence, adaptation to parenthood, and variables relevant to the study of the transition to parenthood (social status, length of marriage, type of delivery, and complications). The sample consisted of 102 married, primarily white, middle class primiparous couples. The Interdependence Scale, with affective, problem-solving, and household maintenance subscales, was used to measure prenatal expectations and postpartum realities of marital interdependence. The instrument was designed to generate scores reflecting actual interdependence and each partner's perception of interdependence within the dyad. The Postpartum Self-Evaluation Questionnaire (Lederman, Weingarten, and Lederman, 1981) was used to measure seven dimensions of adaptation to parenthood. The results indicated that primiparous couples have expectations for interdependence within the postpartum marital relationship that are predictive, to varying degrees, of the realities of postpartum interdependence. Couples reported the greatest actual and perceived interdependence in the affective dimension of their relationship, followed by the problem-solving and household maintenance dimensions. Husband and wife scores on the PSQ indicated effective adaptation to parenthood. PSQ total scale scores for husband and wife were highly correlated while subscale scores were correlated in the low to moderate range. Several subscales of the Interdependence Scale were predictive of PSQ subscales, just as several PSQ subscales were predictive of Interdependence subscales. Expectations of Interdependence were more often predictors of adaptation to parenthood than the Realities of Interdependence. The variables of complications, length of marriage, social status and type of delivery were predictors of adaptation to parenthood. Length of marriage and type of delivery were predictors of postpartum marital interdependence. Up to 19% of the variance in the wife's adaptation to parenthood scores and 21% in the husband's could be attributed to the interdependence and the other predictor variables. Up to 60% of the variance in Realities of Interdependence could be attributed to expectations of interdependence, adaptation to parenthood, and the other predictor variables.

Document Type

Dissertation: USD Users Only