Multiple predictors of psychological well-being and optimal parenting among urban African American adolescent mothers
The present study utilizes a cross-sectional and longitudinal design in a comprehensive assessment of adolescent mothers followed from six weeks postpartum to two years after giving birth. Study goals include examining aspects of prominent parenting theories (Belsky, 1984; Nath et al., 1991), expanding the literature by testing mediating and moderating effects, and highlighting the strengths or personal resources (PR) of adolescent mothers. Participants were 141 urban, low-income primiparous African American adolescent mothers. They completed a battery of measures at various points during the two year study including questionnaires measuring psychological well-being, social network characteristics, infant temperament, and parenting attitudes. Additionally, mothers were videotaped while interacting with their child at the 24 month follow-up. Noteworthy findings indicated that mothers with temperamentally difficult children had low levels of well-being, were less satisfied with their parenting role, and were rated low on parental mood and sensitivity while interacting with their child at 24 months. Well-being was found to mediate the relationship between satisfaction with support and parenting satisfaction. This provides confirmation for Belsky and Nath et al.'s notion that support is indirectly related to parenting through its effects on psychological well-being. Adolescent mothers with high PR at six weeks postpartum exhibited more maternal responsivity and affective involvement while interacting with their child at 24 months than adolescents low on PR. Furthermore, PR interacted with levels of support from the adolescent's mother at six weeks postpartum in relationship to 24 month parenting outcomes. Adolescents high on PR at six weeks felt better about their parenting role when support from their mothers was high than teens low on PR. These findings illustrate the importance of considering variables in the early postpartum period in relationship to later parenting. Although the direct effects of social support have been emphasized, it is noteworthy that support only related to parenting in interaction with PR.
0620: Developmental psychology