Coparenting profiles and children's socioemotional outcomes in unmarried parents with low-income

Susan Yoon, Joyce Y. Lee, Junyeong Yang, Jingyi Wang, Yiran Zhang, Minjung Kim, Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study aimed to examine patterns of mother–father coparenting relationship quality and their associations with child empathy, emotional insecurity, and behavior problems in families with low income. Background: Given the growing number of nonmarital births and the high risk of relationship dissolution among cohabiting couples living with low income, it is important to examine the coparenting relationships among racially diverse unmarried couples from low-income contexts. To date, little research has assessed patterns of coparenting relationships and their associations with child socioemotional outcomes among this population. Methods: Participants were 4,266 unmarried couples and their preschool-aged children from the Building Strong Families study. Latent profile analysis (LPA) was conducted. Results: LPA of survey data from mothers and fathers revealed four coparenting patterns: Profile 1: low quality, more negative maternal coparenting perceptions (7.2%); Profile 2: moderate-high quality, high congruence, slightly more negative paternal coparenting perceptions (25.2%); Profile 3: low congruence, severely more negative maternal coparenting perceptions (11.8%); and Profile 4: mutual high-quality coparenting (55.8%). Conclusion: Children of parents with the mutual high-quality coparenting profile had the most positive outcomes according to maternal reports of child socioemotional development. Highly congruent and positive perceptions of the other parent as a coparent were found to be significant promotive factors for positive child socioemotional development. Implications: Family strengthening policies and programs for unmarried couples with low income should target and support the development of mutually satisfying, high-quality coparenting relationships, with the ultimate goal to improve developmental outcomes for young children in such families.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-302
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Marriage and Family published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of National Council on Family Relations.


  • Building Strong Families
  • child development
  • coparenting
  • low-income families


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