The relationship between parenting stress, social support, acculturation, and Latina adolescent mothers' self-reported parenting behaviors
Research shows a strong association between adolescent parenthood and risk for negative parenting practices and high levels of stress. Empirical evidence suggests that psychosocial mechanisms such as social support can help "buffer" the adverse effects of stress on the parenting practices of young mothers. Possible interactive effects between acculturation, social support, and parenting processes among Latino youth have been noted. An increased understanding of parenthood among Latina adolescents would enhance the assessment and interpretation of their parenting cognitions and behaviors in a culturally sensitive manner, to identify risk and protective factors, and to develop effective intervention strategies.
This study examined the relationship of parenting stress to Latina adolescent mothers' self-reported parenting behaviors, the moderating effect of perceived social support on the relationship of parenting stress to parenting behaviors, and the extent to which acculturation moderates the relationship between perceived social support and self-reported parenting behaviors. The sample consisted of 101 Latina young mothers between the ages of 15 and 21 with at least one child between one and four years and eleven months of age. Participants were recruited from school-based and community-based programs offering services to adolescent mothers.
As anticipated and consistent with prior research, a significant relationship between parenting stress and parenting behaviors among Latina teenage mothers was found. Higher levels of parenting stress were associated with increasing parental use of verbal and physical punishment. Perceived social support from significant others and family members was negatively associated with discipline parenting scores. Greater support from significant others and/or family members was associated with less use of verbal and physical punishment. Participants who perceived less social support from their family, friends, and significant others reported higher levels of parenting stress. As hypothesized, the relationship between parenting stress and parenting behaviors varied as a function of the perceived degree of social support. Parenting stress related to parenting behaviors decreased as the level of perceived social support increased. Contrary to prediction, parenting stress and perceived social support were not associated with parental use of positive nurturing activities, and acculturation level was not associated with variations in perceptions of social support, or levels of parenting stress. Acculturation was a strong predictor of parents' developmental expectations about their children. Limitations of the current study are addressed and implications for interventions discussed.
Families & family life;
Minority & ethnic groups
0451: Social psychology
0628: Families & family life
0628: Personal relationships
0631: Minority & ethnic groups