Parenting stress and parent support among mothers with high and low education

Parkes, A. , Sweeting, H. and Wight, D. (2015) Parenting stress and parent support among mothers with high and low education. Journal of Family Psychology, 29(6), pp. 907-918. (doi:10.1037/fam0000129) (PMID:26192130) (PMCID:PMC4671474)

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Abstract

Current theorising and evidence suggest that parenting stress might be greater among parents from both low and high socio-economic positions (SEP), compared to those from intermediate levels; due to material hardship among parents of low SEP, and to employment demands among parents of high SEP. However, little is known about how this socio-economic variation in stress relates to the support that parents receive. This study explored whether variation in maternal parenting stress in a population sample was associated with support deficits. In order to obtain a clearer understanding of support deficits among high-and low-educated mothers, subgroups were distinguished according to mothers’ migrant and single parent status. Participants were 5865 mothers from the Growing Up in Scotland study, interviewed when their child was 10 months old. Parenting stress was greater among mothers with either high or low education than among mothers with intermediate education, although it was highest for those with low education. Support deficits accounted for around 50% of higher stress among high-and low-educated groups. Less frequent grandparent contact mediated parenting stress among both high- and low-educated mothers, particularly migrants. Aside from this common feature, different aspects of support were relevant for high- compared with low-educated mothers. For high-educated mothers, reliance on formal childcare and less frequent support from friends mediated higher stress. Among low-educated mothers, smaller grandparent and friend networks and barriers to professional parent support mediated higher stress. Implications of differing support deficits are discussed.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wight, Professor Daniel and Parkes, Dr Alison and Sweeting, Dr Helen
Authors: Parkes, A., Sweeting, H., and Wight, D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO Unit
Journal Name:Journal of Family Psychology
Publisher:American Psychological Association
ISSN:0893-3200
ISSN (Online):1939-1293
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First Published in Journal of Family Psychology 29(6):907-918
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
656641Children, Young People, Families and Health ProgrammeDaniel WightMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/9IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727631SPHSU Core Renewal: Relationships & Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLisa McDaidMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/11IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727641SPHSU Core Renewal: Setting and Health Improvement Research ProgrammeKathryn HuntMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/12IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU