Skip to main content

Biased Appraisals of Parenting Daily Hassles Among Mothers of Young Children: Predictors of Parenting Adjustment

Abstract

This study examined whether mothers' endorsement of negative cognitive errors and positive illusions uniquely contribute to explaining the impact of parenting daily hassles on parenting adjustment in 72 mothers of children ages 2–5 years. Although scores on both scales of biased appraisals correlated significantly with reported frequency and intensity of parenting daily hassles, only mothers' endorsement of negative cognitive errors consistently and uniquely predicted higher levels of psychological distress and parenting stress and lower levels of parenting satisfaction and self-efficacy more than either frequency or intensity of parenting hassles alone. These results suggest both promises for parenting interventions and further integration of theories of stress, negatively biased appraisals, and psychological adjustment with the parenting literature.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Notes

  1. For the Frequency scale total of the PDH, Crnic and Booth (1991) reported means and standard deviations of 38.6 (4.1), 40.4 (5.2), and 38.9 (5.3) for parents of children ages 9–12 months, 18–24 months, and 30–36 months, respectively. For the Intensity scale total, means and standard deviations were 38.8 (7.8), 42.4 (8.6), and 43.6 (9.7) for parents of children ages 9–12 months, 18–24 months, and 30–36 months, respectively. Crnic and Greenberg (1990) reported means and standard deviations of 37.3 (6.9) and 41.8 (12.2) for the Frequency and Intensity scale totals, respectively, for their sample of mothers of 5-year-old children.

References

  • Abidin, R. R. (1995). Parenting Stress Index (3rd ed.) Professional manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aspinall, L. G., Richter, L., & Hoffman, R. R. (2001). Understanding how optimism works: An examination of optimists’ adaptive moderation of belief and behavior. In E. C. Chang (Ed.,) Optimism & pessimism: Implications for theory, research, and practice (pp. 217–238). Washington, DC: APA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bailey, J., Barton, B., & Vignola, A. (1999). Coping with children with ADHD: Coping styles of mothers with children with ADHD or challenging behaviours. Early Child Development and Care, 148, 35–50.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beck, A. T. (1967). Depression: Clinical, experimental, and theoretical aspects. New York: Harper & Row.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beck, A. T. (1976). Cognitive therapy and the emotional disorders. New York: Harper & Row.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beck, A. T. (1991). Cognitive therapy: A 30-year retrospective. American Psychologist, 46, 368–375.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Beck, A. T., Rush, A. J., Shaw, B. F., & Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive therapy of depression. New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beckman, P. J. (1991). Comparison of mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of the effect of young children with and without disabilities. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 95, 585–595.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Campbell, S. B. (2002). Behavior problems in preschool children: Clinical and developmental issues (2nd ed.). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Creasey, G., & Reese, M. (1996). Mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of parenting hassles: Associations with psychological symptoms, nonparenting hassles, and child behavior problems. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 17, 393–406.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Crnic, K. A., & Acevedo, M. (1995). Everyday stresses and parenting. In: M. H. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting: Vol. 4: Applied and practical parenting (pp. 277–297). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Crnic, K. A., & Booth, C. L. (1991). Mother’s and fathers’ perceptions of daily hassles of parenting across early childhood. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53, 1042–1050.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Crnic, K. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (1990). Minor parenting stresses with young children. Child Development, 61, 1628–1637.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Deater-Deckard, K., & Scarr, S. (1996). Parenting stress among dual-earner mothers and fathers: Are there gender differences? Journal of Family Psychology, 10, 45–59.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Derogatis, L. R. (2001). Brief symptom inventory 18: Administration, scoring, and procedures manual. Minneapolis: NCS Assessments.

    Google Scholar 

  • Folkman, S., & Moskowitz, J. T. (2000). Positive affect and the other side of coping. American Psychologist, 55, 647–654.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gabel, H., McDowell, J., & Cerreto, M. (1983). Family adaptation to the handicapped infant. In S. G. Garwood & R. R. Fewell (Eds.), Educating handicapped infants (pp. 455–493). Rockville, MD: Aspen.

    Google Scholar 

  • Galinsky, E. (1987). The six stages of parenthood. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grych, J. H., & Fincham, F. D. (1992). Interventions for children of divorce: Toward greater integration of research and action. Psychological Bulletin, 111, 1–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gibaud-Wallston, J., & Wandersman, L. P. (1978). Development and utility of the Parenting Sense of Competence Scale. Paper present at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto.

  • Haine, R. A., Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S., Tein, J., & Dawson-McClure, S. (2003). Changing the legacy of divorce: Evidence from prevention programs and future directions. Family Relations, 52, 397–405.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hammen, C. L. (1988). Depression and cognitions about personal stressful life events. In L. B. Alloy (Ed.), Cognitive processes in depression. (pp. 77–108). New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Henriques, G., & Leitenberg, H. (2002). An experimental analysis of the role of cognitive errors in the development of depressed mood following negative social feedback. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 26, 245–260.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Johnston, C., & Mash, E. J. (1989). A measure of parenting satisfaction and efficacy. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 18, 167–175.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Krantz, S. E., Clark, J., Pruyn, J. P., & Usher, M. (1985). Cognition and adjustment among children of separated or divorced parents. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 9, 61–77.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lazarus, R. S., Kanner, A. D., & Folkman, S. (1980). Emotions: A cognitive-phenomenological analysis. In R. Plutchik & H. Kellerman (Eds.), Theories of emotion (pp. 189–217). New York: Academic Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Leitenberg, H., Yost, L. W., & Carroll-Wilson, M. (1986). Negative cognitive errors in children: Questionnaire development, normative data, and comparisons between children with and without self-reported symptoms of depression, low self-esteem, and evaluation anxiety. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 528–536.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Martz, J. M., Verette, J., Arriaga, X. B., Slovik, L. F., Cox, C. L., & Rusbult, C. E. (1998). Positive illusion in close relationships. Personal Relationships, 5, 159–181.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mazur, E., Wolchik, S. A., & Sandler, I. N. (1992). Negative cognitive errors and positive illusions for negative divorce events: Predictors of children’s psychological adjustment. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 20, 523–542.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mazur, E., Wolchik, S. A., Virdin, L., Sandler, I. N., & West, S. G. (1999). Cognitive moderators of children’s adjustment to stressful divorce events: The role of negative cognitive errors and positive illusions. Child Development, 70, 231–245.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Metalsky, G. I., & Joiner, T. E. (1992). Vulnerability to depressive symptomatology: A prospective test of the diathesis-stress and causal mediation components of the hopelessness theory of depression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 677–675.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Miller, A. C., Gordon, R. M., Daniele, R. J., & Diller, L. (1992). Stress, appraisal, and coping in mothers of disabled and nondisabled children. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 17, 587–605.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Murphy, K. E. (1997). Parenting a technology assisted infant: Coping with occupational stress. Social Work in Health Care, 24, 113–126.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Murray, S. L., & Holmes, J. G. (1999). The (mental) ties that bind: Cognitive structures that predict relationship resilience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1228–1244.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • O’Brien, M. (1996). Child-rearing difficulties reported by parents of infants and toddlers. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 21, 433–466.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ohan, J. L., Leung, D. W., & Johnston C. (2000). The Parenting Sense of Competence Scale: Evidence of a stable factor structure and validity. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 32, 251–261.

    Google Scholar 

  • Robins, R. W., & Beer, J. S. (2001). Positive illusions about the self: Short-term benefits and long-term costs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 340–352.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rodd, J. (1993). Maternal stress: A comparative study of Australian and Singaporean mothers of young children. Early Child Development and Care, 91, 41–50.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sandler, A., & Mistretta, L. (1998). Positive adaptation in parents of adults with disabilities. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, 33, 123–130.

    Google Scholar 

  • Seligman, M. E. P., Peterson, C., Kaslow, N. J., Tanenbaum, R. L., Alloy, L. B., & Abramson, C. Y. (1984). Attributional style and depressive symptoms among children. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 93, 235–238.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sigel, I. E. (1985). Parental belief systems. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spivack, G., & Shure, M. B. (1974). The problem-solving approach to adjustment. Washington, DC: Jossey-Bass.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stein, N., Folkman, S., Trabasso, T., & Richards, T. A. (1997). Appraisal and goal processes as predictors of psychological well-being in bereaved caregivers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 72, 872–884.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Taylor, S. E. (1983). Adjustment to threatening events: A theory of cognitive adaptation. American Psychologist, 38, 1161–1173.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Taylor, S. E. (1989). Positive illusions: Creative self-deception and the healthy mind. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Taylor, S. E., & Brown, J. D. (1988). Illusions and well-being: A social psychological perspective on mental health. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 193–210.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Taylor, S. E., & Brown, J. D. (1994). Positive illusions and well-being revisited: Separating fact from fiction. Psychological Bulletin, 116, 21–27.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Taylor, S. E., Kemeny, M. E., Reed, G. M., Bower, J. E., & Gruenewald, T. L. (2000). Psychological resources, positive illusions, and health. American Psychologist, 55, 99–109.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Trute, B., & Hiebert-Murphy, D. (2002). Family adjustment to childhood developmental disability: A measure of parent appraisal of family impacts. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 27, 271–280.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wanamaker, C. E., & Glenwick, D. S. (1998). Stress, coping, and perceptions of child behavior in parents of preschoolers with cerebral palsy. Rehabilitation Psychology, 43, 297–312.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The author gratefully acknowledges Heather Taylor for her assistance with data collection and Jane Sheldon for her helpful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Elizabeth Mazur.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Mazur, E. Biased Appraisals of Parenting Daily Hassles Among Mothers of Young Children: Predictors of Parenting Adjustment. Cogn Ther Res 30, 161–175 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-006-9031-z

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-006-9031-z

Keywords

  • Appraisals
  • Hassles
  • Negative cognitive errors
  • Positive illusions
  • Parenting