A model of parenting stress


  • Dr. Janet B. Younger PhD, RN

    Corresponding author
    1. Associate Professor in the School of Nursing, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University
    • School of Nursing, Virginia Commonwealth University, P.O. Box 567, Richmond VA 23298
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A preliminary theoretical model of parenting stress was tested. The additive effects of a series of stresses, namely, stressful pregnancy, stress of labor and delivery, and the stress of parenting were examined in a causal model of parenting stress. Factors theoretically expected to be protective in stressful circumstances, like, personality strength, prior experience, age, education, and social support, were predicted to be negatively related to stress. Data from 101 mothers whose infants were 6 weeks old were analyzed using path analysis. The data fit the model and explained 41% of the variance in parenting stress. The empirical model showed significant paths from prior experience and social support to the stress of pregnancy. The mother's education was the only significant variable in the pathway to labor and delivery stress and it was positively related to stress. Paths to parenting stress existed from personality and from pregnancy stress, but not from labor and delivery stress or any of the other variables.