Coparenting and Gatekeeping Measurement

This page contains updated information on measuring coparenting relationships both observationally and via reports, interviews, or diaries.

Observational Assessments of Coparenting

A number of coding systems exist for observational assessment of coparenting behavior. The one I have used most often is based on scales originally developed by Cowan and Cowan (1996) and has been used in all of my papers containing observational assessment of coparenting prior to 2014. These coding scales can be found here: Coparenting Behavior Coding Scales-11tql34

In more recent work using data from the New Parents Project (NPP), we modified this coding system to (1) code some behaviors at the individual level; and (2) include the coding scales developed by Bayer (1992) and used in Cannon, Schoppe-Sullivan, et al. (2008, Family Process) to assess maternal gatekeeping behavior. The NPP coparenting coding scales have been used in all of my papers containing observational assessment of coparenting since 2014 and can be found here: NPP Coding Manual-23yhq0p

Parent-Report, Interview, and Diary Assessments of Coparenting

There are also many parent-report, interview, and diary measures of coparenting behavior and coparenting relationship quality. Some of these include items administered as a part of large national surveys.

The two parent report measures I have used most successfully in my own work are:

Feinberg, Brown, & Kan’s (2012) Coparenting Relationship Questionnaire

Stright and Bales (2003) Perceptions of Coparenting Partners Questionnaire; formatted version: StrightcopparentingQ-16k73ad

Brandon McDaniel developed the Daily Coparenting Scale which is administered as a daily diary assessment of coparenting (e.g., nightly surveys across consecutive days, etc.). For more information about this measure, please read the initial validation work here in McDaniel, Teti, & Feinberg (2017). Although not published in this initial validation study, the daily measure of coparenting has also been shown to relate to a variety of daily predictors as would be expected and to parent and child outcomes (see these results in Brandon’s dissertation work in Study 2 and Study 3). Also, feel free to contact Brandon at btmcdaniel.phd@gmail.com.

Parent-Report Measures of Maternal or Parental Gatekeeping Behavior

I consider gatekeeping behavior to be a special case of coparenting behavior more generally. The parent report measure I have used most frequently to assess gatekeeping behavior is Van Egeren’s (2000) Parental Regulation Inventory. For the items I have used to assess maternal gate closing and gate opening behavior see Schoppe-Sullivan et al. (2015, Parenting: Science and Practice). Update: More refined sets of items to assess gate closing and gate opening by mothers that demonstrate measurement invariance across mothers and fathers and across infancy are detailed in a recent report from my lab (Lee, Schoppe-Sullivan, et al., 2019, SRCD Monographs).

Daniel Puhlman has also developed and published initial psychometric data for a new measure of maternal gatekeeping that assesses the three dimensions outlined in his 2013 article in the Journal of Family Theory & Review.

Other measures of maternal gatekeeping include Allen and Hawkins’ (1999) Maternal Gatekeeping Measure and Fagan and Barnett’s (2003) measure which focuses on maternal control over parental decision-making.

2017 SRCD Fathering Preconference Materials

Anna Olsavsky and I presented a break-out session on Coparenting Measurement at the 2017 SRCD Fathering preconference. The two handouts with more extensive information about observational and other types of coparenting assessments are available here:

Observing Coparenting-2be2ytb

Self-Report Diary Interview Measures of Coparenting-2m570ii

2019 SRCD Fathering Preconference Materials

I presented a break-out session on Measuring Maternal Gatekeeping at the 2019 SRCD Fathering preconference. The handout with more extensive information about survey and observational assessments of maternal gatekeeping is available here:

Measures-of-Gatekeeping