Förstagångs föräldrars upplevelse av samlivet – en longitudinell studie
Quality of the intimate and sexual relationship in first-time parents – a longitudinal study
When a couple gets their first child the relationship is affected by the baby being the focus of attention, usually at the expense of the couple’s intimate relationship. Regarding the relatively high level of separations and divorces among parents of pre-school children, it was important to follow couples over time, as there is no such research in Scandinavia. Objectives: Describe the experienced relationship quality, and especially sensuality and sexuality, in first-time parents over time from when the firstborn is six months (T1), four years (T2) and eight years (T3) and describe what factors that may affect the relationship quality. Method: A longitudinal design with repeated measures using a self-report questionnaire, Quality of Dyadic Relationship, QDR36, answered by 258 parents at all three occasions. Data was analyzed mainly with Friedman’s test and multiple regression analysis. Results: The relationship quality significantly declined at T2 and then significantly increased again at T3 but not to the origin at T1. Both sexes showed a similar change over time in QDR-index. The dimension Dyadic sensuality significantly decreased at all three occasions and dyadic sexuality showed no significant differences over time but remained at a low level at all three occasions. Sexual frequency and contentment decreased at T3 after a small increase at T2. Four covariates of perceived relationship quality at T3 were significant; strained relationship with the child, strained health, Sense of Coherence and strained economy. Cronbach´s alpha showed a high reliability (0.95) at T3 and indicates a development of QDR 36. Conclusion: Professionals can throughout the entire healthcare chain make a contribution to society by preventing separation and stabilize the couple’s relationship and promote protective factors during the transition to parenthood and the period of small children.