Predictors of Parenting Stress for Abusive and Nonabusive Mothers

Journal of Child and Family Studies (Impact Factor: 1.42). 02/2008; 18(1):61-69. DOI: 10.1007/s10826-008-9207-0


We examined a model of parenting stress for abusive mothers (n=80) and nonabusive mothers (n=86) using linear regression analyses. Predictors in the model included (a) the degree to which mothers were bothered by
child misbehavior, (b) mothers’ general psychological functioning, and (c) observed child behavior during parent–child interactions.
Whether abuse status moderated the relations between each predictor and parenting stress was also explored. Results indicated
that mothers’ psychological functioning significantly predicted parenting stress; however, neither mothers’ intolerance for
their children’s misbehavior nor observed child behavior were significant predictors of parenting stress in the regression
model. A test of moderation revealed a significant interaction between parental intolerance and abuse status such that intolerance
predicted parenting stress level only for abusive mothers. A comparison of correlations indicated that abusive mothers’ level
of parenting stress was more closely related to their intolerance for child conduct problems than to the child’s behavior
during play with their mothers. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for interventions to reduce parenting stress
experienced by nonabusive and abusive mothers.

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