Predictors of Parenting Stress in a Diverse Sample of Parents of Early Adolescents in High-Risk Communities


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Abstract

Background:Parenting stress is associated with negative parenting practices, which have been linked to increased youth health risk behaviors. It is important, therefore, to understand the most salient contributors to parenting stress in families who live in communities considered at high risk of the development of youth problem behaviors.Objective:On the basis of a model derived from the model of parenting stress of R. R. Abidin (1995), the contributions to parenting stress of child factors (age, social skills, and problem behaviors), parent factors (gender, health, and race or ethnicity), and contextual factors (family structure, conflict, social support, education, and income) were explored.Methods:A secondary data analysis using bivariate correlations and multiple and hierarchical regression was conducted to identify the relative influence of these factors on parenting stress in a national sample of 824 parents (primarily mothers, those from racial or ethnic minorities, and those who have low income) of adolescents aged 10-18 years.Results:Analyses indicated strong associations between child behavior and parenting stress (p < .001). There was a positive association between youth age and parenting stress. Single parents and parents in poor health reported significantly high levels of parenting stress; families with high levels of involvement and cohesion reported significantly less stress. The data support the multivariate model of parenting stress of R. R. Abidin (1995).Discussion:Parents of adolescents experience a high level of parenting stress that can compromise their ability to parent effectively. Identification of child, parent, and contextual characteristics that are associated with parenting stress may facilitate our understanding of how healthcare, social service, and education providers can prepare and support parents to reduce the risk of problem behavior.

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