Mothers' and Fathers' Parenting Stress: Associations with Parent-Child Conflict and Preschool-Aged Children's Internalizing Behaviour Problems

Cassandra Pirraglia
Internalizing behaviour problems, including anxiety, depression, and somatization are among the most common mental health concerns experienced by young children. Researchers have identified parenting stress (i.e. stress related to the demands of the parenting role) as a key factor related to children's development of internalizing behaviour problems. The relationship between parenting stress and child internalizing behaviour problems is, however, not well understood. Furthermore, previous
more » ... ore, previous research in this area has focused almost exclusively on the mother-child dyad, disregarding the unique contributions of fathers' parenting stress to child internalizing symptoms. Employing a quantitative survey and observational design, this correlational study examined whether both mothers' and fathers' parenting stress predicted preschool-aged children's concurrent internalizing behaviour problems through the mediators of both observed and parent-reported parent-child conflict. Results of this study show that both mothers' and fathers' parenting stress significantly related to preschool-aged children's internalizing behaviour problems. For both mothers and fathers, this relationship was significantly mediated by parent-reported, but not by observed, parent-child conflict. Limitations and directions for future research as well as the implications of these research findings for researchers, parents, and practitioners, are discussed.
doi:10.7939/r3-5wvd-w071 fatcat:4w7mkgyrefcx3by2lz6otbnkla