Faculty Publications


Overt and covert coparenting processes in the family.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

James P. McHale

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

January 1997

Date Available

March 2012


This article introduces a new self-report instrument designed to measure the frequency of parental behaviors thought to promote or undermine children's sense of family. Members of 103 married couples rated their behavior in both public (all family members present) and private (alone with child) contexts. Factor analyses of these data revealed four distinct factors indexing: behaviors in the service of promoting a sense of Family Integrity; largely covert parent-to-child communications undermining, or conveying Disparagement of, the coparental partner; overt interparental Conflict in the presence of the child; and coparental disciplinary activities (Reprimand). Significant husband-wife correlations were found on each of the four individual subscales. Construct-specific intercorrelations also obtained between like scales on the new measure and on the Family Environment Scale and Quality of Coparenting Scale. Cluster analyses of husbands' and wives' scores on the four Coparenting Scale factors suggested five "types" of coparenting families: Disconnected, Supportive, Average, Distressed-Conflicted, and Passionate. These clusters, along with the value of self-report instruments in assessing coparenting behaviors that may be largely clandestine in nature, are discussed.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Family Process, 36, 183-201. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.




Family Process

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.