Narrator: This is Science Today. The risk
of marital strain for couples having babies in the
Nineties is higher than it was a decade ago. Phillip
Cowan, a professor of psychology at the University
of California, Berkeley has studied young families
for two decades and says a lot of the difficulty
stems from having different expectations.
Cowan: Out there in the media, what tends
to happen is there's new families and everybody
is doing things equally and doing the household
tasks equally and they're bringing up the children.
That's not happening in any reality that I know
of in this country or any industrialized country
in the world.
Narrator: This disillusionment leads to higher
stress and divorce rates.
Cowan: We're not just saying that this is
a stressful time. The couples that we interviewed
and talk with are telling us that it's stressful
and the thing that we know in our study is that
conflict between husbands and wives goes up after
having babies and satisfaction with the marriage,
on average, tends to go down. And we can't blame
the babies. That's not the problem.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.