Prenatal Coparenting Under High Arousal Predicts Infants' Cognitive Development at 18 Months

Dana Shai, Rotem Bergner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Contemporary research is led by an increasing appreciation that children's development must be studied within family contexts, and especially in relationship to the coparenting system. One significant aspect determining the quality of coparenting is parents' ability to communicate and work well together under high arousal and stress. Prenatal coparenting quality has been shown to predict postnatal coparenting, although has almost exclusively been observed under conditions that do not fully challenge parents. In this chapter, we introduce a novel procedure -the Inconsolable Doll Task (IDT) -to assess prenatal coparenting under stressful conditions using a nonresponsive doll simulator. Our findings with pregnant couples from Israel demonstrate the ecological validity of this new task and show that couples' coparenting while interacting with an inconsolable "infant" was associated with their pre-and postnatal coparenting under low arousal. Moreover, parents' negative, but not their positive, dynamics during the IDT predicted infants' cognitive development at 18 months, even after controlling for variance explained by pre-and postnatal parent-reported and parent-observed coparenting under low-arousal conditions, as well as for variance explained by infant temperament, parental education, and SES. The Findings underscore the importance of considering both negative and positive coparental dynamics observed under high and low-arousal conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrenatal Family Dynamics
Subtitle of host publicationCouple and Coparenting Relationships During and Postpregnancy
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783030519889
ISBN (Print)9783030519872
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021.


  • Coparenting under high arousal
  • Infant cognitive development
  • Prenatal Lausanne Trilogue Play
  • Prenatal coparenting
  • RealCare Baby® II-Plus infant simulator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Medicine


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