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Associations Among Child Perceptions of Parenting Support, Maternal Parenting Efficacy and Maternal Depressive Symptoms

Abstract

Background

Children and parents often rely on the support provided by non-parental adults such as extended family members. Expanding conceptualizations of social support beyond traditional nuclear family paradigms to include non-parental adults may be particularly relevant to identifying family strengths among economically disadvantaged and Latino families.

Objective

In the present study, we examine the extent to which child reports of parenting support provided by non-parental adults are linked to variations in mother-reported parenting efficacy and depressive symptoms, and whether these associations vary according to maternal marital status and Latino/Hispanic race/ethnicity.

Methods

The present study considers how child-reported social support specific to parenting is associated with maternal self-reported wellbeing among a community sample of 59 mothers and their 10–12 year-old children.

Results

Findings indicate that controlling for maternal perceptions of global social-emotional support, parenting support is inversely related to parenting efficacy among single mother and Latino/Hispanic families. Further, Latino/Hispanic children of mothers with higher levels of depressive symptoms report greater support from non-parental adults.

Conclusions

These results suggest that parenting support may in this cross-sectional study be a response to maternal need. Further, the function of support from non-parental adults may vary for single-mother versus two-parent families, and Latino/Hispanic families in comparison to European American families.

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Acknowledgments

We wish to thank the school district officials and school personnel for their support and help with recruitment, and the families who participated in the research. We also thank the undergraduate and graduate research assistants who collected the data.

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Correspondence to Melissa A. Barnett.

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Barnett, M.A., de Baca, T.C., Jordan, A. et al. Associations Among Child Perceptions of Parenting Support, Maternal Parenting Efficacy and Maternal Depressive Symptoms. Child Youth Care Forum 44, 17–32 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-014-9267-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-014-9267-9

Keywords

  • Latino families
  • Parental depression
  • Parenting efficacy
  • Single-mother families
  • Social support