Sharing in child caring: Does equal parenting involvement moderate the relationship between fathers’ and mothers’ sensitivity and toddlers’ receptive language ability?

Katrien Helmerhorst*, Nicole Lucassen, Lisa van der Storm, Renske Keizer

*Corresponding author for this work

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Existing literature predominantly viewed and examined the different subsystems within the family system as mediating mechanisms in relation to child outcomes. Even though family systems theory stresses that these different subsystems can offer a buffering capacity, much less attention has gone to the moderating roles that the different subsystems within the family might play. In the current study, we focus on associations between fathers’ and mothers’ sensitivity and toddler’s receptive language ability and we investigated whether and to what extent the association between fathers’ and mothers’ sensitivity (i.e. the dyadic parent-child relationship) and children’s receptive language ability was moderated by equal parenting involvement (i.e. the triadic coparenting relationship). Our sample consisted of 103 Dutch native families, with 103 fathers, 103 mothers and 103, 3-year-olds. Results demonstrated after controlling for child sex and educational background of the family, neither fathers’ nor mothers’ sensitivity contributed uniquely to children’s receptive language ability. Furthermore, we did not find moderation between the dyadic parent-child relationship (i.e., paternal and maternal sensitivity) and the triadic coparenting relationship (i.e., equal parenting involvement) in relation to children’s receptive language scores in our study. Possible explanations for our findings and future directions are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-20
Number of pages9
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Early online date15-Nov-2021
Publication statusPublished - 1-Apr-2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Sensitivity; Equal parenting involvement; Child receptive language; Father Mother Family systems theory

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