The Perceived Sanctification of Marriage, Pregnancy, and the Transition to Parenthood

Mahoney, Annette (PI)
Pargament, Kenneth I. (Co-I)
DeMaris, Alfred (Co-I)

Through a Sacred Lens: Creating New Spiritual Knowledge about Marriage, Pregnancy, and the Transition to Parenthood. Funded by the John Templeton Foundation for the period May 15, 2005 to May 14, 2009. Total award: $1,192,043.

This longitudinal project collected four waves of data on 164 couples expecting their first child (3rd trimester and when baby was 3, 6 and 12 mo old; retention rate of 95% of participants). The overarching goal of the project is to examine various spiritual dimensions of the transition to parenthood. Of particular interest is the impact of parental self-reports of the sanctification of the couple's relationship, the sanctification of pregnancy, and the sanctification of becoming a new parent on post-partum family life, including marital, parent-child, and child adjustment. Other novel constructs under investigation that deal with the integration of spirituality into family dynamics. These include dyadic spiritual activities between the spouses and triadic family spiritual activities, spiritual intimacy between spouses, and spiritual resources, including positive and negative religious coping by each spouse and how the couple integrates religion/spirituality into their relationship to deal with marital conflict and other family stressors. Outcome variables include videotaped observations of marital, mother-infant, father-infant, and triadic family interactions as well as parental self-reports about their relationship, parenting, and their own and the baby's adjustment.


DeMaris, A., Mahoney, A. & Pargament, K. I. (2010). Sanctification of marriage and general religiousness as buffers of the effects of marital inequity. Journal of Family Issues, 31, 1255-1278.

Mahoney, A., Pargament, K. I., & DeMaris, A. (2009). Couples viewing marriage and pregnancy through the lens of the Sacred: A descriptive study. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 20, 1-45.


Mahoney, A. (2009, April). Relational spirituality and sanctification: A framework and findings about spirituality within family relationships during the transition to parenthood. Paper presented at the 5th Biennial Pre-Conference on Religion and Spiritual Development at the Society for Child Research and Development, Denver, CO.