Stability and change in self-esteem during the transition to parenthood

Wiebke Bleidoorn, Asuman Buyukcan-Tetik, Ted Schwaba, Manon A. van Scheppingen, Jaap Denissen, C. Finkenauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The present longitudinal study used data from 187 newlywed couples to examine the impact of the birth of the first child on self- esteem over the course of the first 5 years of marriage. Results suggest that the birth of the first child is associated with changes in parents’ (especially mothers’) self-esteem. For the average parent, these changes were negative with sudden declines in self- esteem in the year after childbirth and continuing gradual decreases throughout the remaining years of the study. A comparison group of couples who did not have children during the research period showed no changes in self-esteem, suggesting that the results seen in the parent sample may indeed be due to the birth of the first child. Discussion focuses on the implications of the results for theory and research on the development of the self-esteem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-569
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Self-esteem
  • Transition to parenthood
  • personality development
  • multilevel modeling


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