Study reveals married or cohabiting couples who have been mutually violent through pregnancy phase are highly likely to face added trouble while parenting together.
"This finding is helpful because working as a parenting team, is a key influence on everything from mothers' postpartum depression, to sensitive parenting, to the children's emotional and social adjustment," said Mark E. Feinberg, research professor at Penn State University and study co-author.
Researchers interviewed 156 expectant couples at three different times, once before the baby was born, again about six months after the birth of the child and a final time when the baby was approximately 13 months old, the Journal of Family Issues reported.
The interviews determined the degree of physical violence between couples prior to the birth of the baby, and how well couples were able to act as a team while parenting, after the baby was born, according to a university statement.
"The results suggest that working with couples to curtail, or prevent violence in their relationships before the birth of their child, may have positive implications for the development of co-parenting relationships after the child is born," said Feinberg, from the Prevention Research Centre for the Promotion of Human Development at Penn State.
Researchers reported that 29.8 percent of mothers acted violently at least once in the past year, while 17.3 percent of fathers acted violently.
Finding mothers to be more violent than fathers is not an uncommon discovery in average community samples, according to the researchers.