Stressful life events, psychological distress, coping, and parenting of divorced mothers: a longitudinal study

J Fam Psychol. 2000 Mar;14(1):27-41. doi: 10.1037//0893-3200.14.1.27.


This was a prospective longitudinal study of the relationships among life stress, psychological distress, coping, and parenting behaviors in a sample of divorced custodial mothers. First, the differential effects of major events and daily stressors on psychological distress and parenting were explored. Second, the mediational links among stress, distress, and 3 dimensions of parenting behaviors were studied. Third, 3 coping strategies were studied as moderators of the relationship between distress and parenting. The results showed that both major and small events had significant effects on parental distress, with the effects of daily negative events being greater than those of major events. Parental distress mediated the relationships between stressful life events and parental acceptance of their children's behaviors. Parental coping strategies moderated the relationship between mothers' psychological distress and mothers' discipline practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child Rearing
  • Divorce / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Parenting / psychology*