Maternal parenting stress and husband supportiveness following the birth of a couple's first child, and the prediction of marital quality and stability four years later
Smith, Sidney Mark, Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Virginia
Abidin, Richard, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Lawrence, Edith, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Ball, Donald W., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Emery, Robert, As-Psychology, University of Virginia
The purpose of this study was twofold: 1. To explore the relationship between maternal parenting stress, husband supportiveness, maternal employment and later marital stability and quality, and 2. To determine if the relationship between husband supportiveness and maternal parenting stress that was found shortly after the birth of the couple's first child still existed shortly after the child first entered school (four years later). It was hypothesized that there would be a negative relationship bet1Neen maternal parenting stress and later marital satisfaction and stability. A positive relationship was hypothesized between husband supportiveness and later marital satisfaction and stability. Maternal employment was hypothesized to have a negative relationship with marital stability, but to have no relationship with marital satisfaction. Pertaining to the concurrent relationship between husband supportiveness and maternal parenting stress, it was hypothesized that a negative relationship would exist between these factors and that the strength of the relationship would not be as strong as that found when the child was an infant.
The subjects were 92 of the 100 families that participated in a study by Lawrence (1982). It was predominantly a white, middleclass, highly educated sample. The Parenting Stress Index (Abidin, 1979), was used to obtain a measure of maternal parenting stress. The Husband Support Questionnaire, a modified version of the scale designed by Lawrence (1982), was used to assess various aspects of husband support. The Dyadic Adjustment Scale (Spanier, 1976), was used to assess marital satisfaction. The data analysis demonstrated a significant negative relationship between maternal parenting stress and later marital satisfaction. A significant positive relationship was found between husband supportiveness and later marital satisfaction. Due to the small N (N=4) in the marital instability group, it was not possible to analyze the data pertaining to this variable. No relationship was found between maternal employment and marital satisfaction. A negative relationship \I/as found between husband supportiveness and maternal parenting stress .and of a similar magnitude as found by Lawrence (1982). The results are discussed in terms of the noted overlap among the variables under consideration and their potential effect upon family functioning.
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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Stress (Psychology), Parent and child, Parenting, United States
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