Minor parenting stresses with young children

Child Dev. 1990 Oct;61(5):1628-37. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1990.tb02889.x.


The importance of major life stress and minor daily hassles associated with parenting was studied in 74 mothers and their 5-year-old children. Of interest were the relative and absolute contributions of the stress factors to indices of parental, child, and family functioning. Mothers completed questionnaires regarding stressors, aspects of parenting and individual psychological status, social support, family functioning, and child behavioral status. Mother-child pairs were also observed in interactions in a laboratory setting. Analyses indicated that life stress and parenting daily hassles significantly predicted aspects of child, parent, and family status. Hassles, however, proved to be a more powerful stress construct. Further analyses indicated that mothers' social support moderated the influence of hassles on indices of maternal behavior. The results are discussed in relation to the potential for minor parenting stresses to influence microsocial processes within parent-child relationships and contribute to dysfunction in children and families.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Child Behavior
  • Child Care / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Personality Development*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*