Date of Award:

1-1-2007

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Lori A. Roggman

Abstract

Parents are the most affective human environmental resources to children. Although the influences from parents continue even after parents passed away, very young children (up to age 3) get the biggest impact from their parents. According to children's independency to parents, parents ' psychological well-being determines children's emotional-social development. However, in parenting stress, chi ldren also have their own influence to parents in the family context. Regarding parenting stress, many studies have been dedicated to defining the occurrence, co-occurrence, and predictors of parenting stress of parents in various conditions.

This longitudinal research conducted from surveys with 20 I Early Head Start families reexamines the stressors and tests measures to find the most effective identifying variables. Also, the aim of this study is whether fathers' and mothers' parenting stress is different or similar with a child at the ages of I 0 months and 36 months.

From the results of this study, stressors, parenting stress, and child attachment were related and influenced each other. Because the amount of fathers' and mothers' parenting stress was different, and because parenting stress was affected by different stressors according to parents' gender, the Early Head Start program should consider the differences in parenting stress due to the gender of parents.

Additionally, as the children grew, the relations among stressors, parenting stress, and child attachment changed. Children 's development can change all circumstances including parents' physical and psychosocial well-being. Further studies need to identify additional sources of parenting stress and the impact of intervention programs on the stressors affecting families raising young children. Also, the Early Head Start program had an effect on the context of parenting stress, so results may have implications for staff of the program.

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