Predictors of care-giver stress in families of preschool-aged children with developmental disabilities

Authors


Matthew R. Sanders, Parenting and Family Support Centre, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4067, Australia (e-mail: matts@psy.uq.edu.au).

Abstract

Background  This study examined the predictors, mediators and moderators of parent stress in families of preschool-aged children with developmental disability.

Method  One hundred and five mothers of preschool-aged children with developmental disability completed assessment measures addressing the key variables.

Results  Analyses demonstrated that the difficulty parents experienced in completing specific care- giving tasks, behaviour problems during these care-giving tasks, and level of child disability, respectively, were significant predictors of level of parent stress. In addition, parents’ cognitive appraisal of care-giving responsibilities had a mediating effect on the relationship between the child’s level of disability and parent stress. Mothers’ level of social support had a moderating effect on the relationship between key independent variables and level of parent stress.

Conclusions  Difficulty of care-giving tasks, difficult child behaviour during care-giving tasks, and level of child disability are the primary factors which contribute to parent stress. Implications of these findings for future research and clinical practice are outlined.

Ancillary