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Sarah  Schoppe-Sullivan - The Ohio State University. Columbus, OH, US

Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan

Professor | Human Development & Family Science Program | The Ohio State University


Developmental Psychology expert, specializing in parental transitions and familial relationships






Coparenting and Young Children's Development Colloquium with Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, PH.D. Dr. Schoppe-Sullivan Discusses Human Development and Family Science at Ohio State




I am a professor of Human Sciences and Psychology (by courtesy) and a faculty associate of the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy. I am also a Fellow of the National Council on Family Relations.

I received my Ph.D. in Psychology (Developmental) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2003. My undergraduate degree was also in Psychology from Northwestern University.

Scholarly Interests: coparenting, maternal gatekeeping, father-child relationships, transition to parenthood, child influences on family relationships

My research focuses on the family system as the primary context for young children’s socioemotional development. I have three central areas of interest: (1) coparenting relationships – how effectively adults within the family system coordinate their roles as parents – and the implications of the quality of coparenting relationships for child and family functioning; (2) the roles of fathers in the family system, particularly the roles of fathers within coparenting relationships; and (3) the effects of children’s characteristics and behavior on family relationships.

Industry Expertise (5)

Social Media

Public Policy


Writing and Editing


Areas of Expertise (6)

Parenting and Social Media

Child influences on family relationships

Transition to parenthood

Father-child relationships

Maternal gatekeeping


Education (1)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Ph.D., Developmental Psychology 2003

Affiliations (1)

  • National Council on Family Relations: Fellow

Media Appearances (4)

Earth Day marches will support scientific endeavors

The Columbus Dispatch  


Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, a human sciences professor at Ohio State, is making it a family vacation. Her husband, a statistician, and her daughter, who wants to become a cat cognition researcher, will make the trip, too. “People have natural curiosity about the world, and science lets us harness that. It’s a powerful thing,” Schoppe-Sullivan said. “This is one of the things we’re the most passionate about as a family.”...

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There's no such thing as the perfect mother - let's drop the guilt

The Telegraph  


In fact research shows that holding your mothering skills to a high standard – or believing others do – can paradoxically make you a worse mother. Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, a professor of human development and family science from The Ohio State University found that striving to the perfect mother can backfire and make make you a worse one...

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Dads are more involved in parenting, yes, but moms still put in more work

The Conversation  


On Jan. 21, in a collective demonstration of historic proportions, millions of women marched in Washington, D.C. and other cities around the world in support of key policy issues such as reproductive rights, equal pay for equal work and support for balancing work and family...

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Worrying about being a perfect mother makes it harder to be a good parent

The Conversation  

Even armed with a Ph.D. in developmental psychology, I remember the frightening first moments after bringing my newborn daughter home from the hospital. I wasn’t sure what to do – and not at all confident that I was capable of being the parent she needed me to be. Every little decision about feeding and caring for this helpless human seemed momentous and fraught with anxiety. What if I don’t make it a full year of breastfeeding? Should I turn off the TV whenever she is in the room to avoid passive screen exposure? Is it OK for her to enter full-time day care at five months?...

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Recent Research (5)

Study Shows Which New Moms Post the Most on Facebook

The Ohio State University


While many new mothers are active on Facebook, these results suggest some seem to be more drawn to the site than others and may use it in less-than-healthy ways, said Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, lead author of the study and professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University. “If a mother is posting on Facebook to get affirmation that she’s doing a good job and doesn’t get all the ‘likes’ and positive comments she expects, that could be a problem. She may end up feeling worse,” Schoppe-Sullivan said...

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How New Moms Assess Their Partners’ Ability to Parent

The Ohio State University


The bottom line is that new mothers are assessing their partners’ suitability to be a parent, said Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, co-author of the study and professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University. “New mothers are looking at their partner and thinking, ‘Is he going to be here for the long haul? Does he know what he is doing with children?’” Schoppe-Sullivan said...

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When the Baby Comes, Working Couples No Longer Share Housework Equally

The Ohio State University


“These are the couples you would expect to have the most egalitarian relationships,” Kamp Dush said. “They have the education, the financial resources and the other factors that researchers have believed would lead to equal sharing of responsibilities. But that’s not what we found.”...

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​Fathers' Engagement with Baby Depends on Mother

The Ohio State University


It may seem that fathers who are better at this positive parenting behavior would be more engaged with their infants, but that is not always the case, said Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, lead author of the study and professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University. “A lot of the father’s involvement depends on what is going on with the mom, at least in the first few months after birth,” Schoppe-Sullivan said...

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Expectant Parents’ Play with Doll Predicts Later Parenting Behavior

The Ohio State University


“The extent to which couples support or undermine each other’s interactions with the doll predicts their co-parenting behavior a year later,” said Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, co-author of the study and professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University. “We saw the same kinds of behaviors between parents when they were interacting with their baby that we saw a year earlier with the doll.” Co-parenting refers to how parents work together as they raise a child...

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