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Two-child mothers’ parenting stress and children’s social competence: a chain mediating model


Since 2011, China has gradually moved from a one-child policy to a comprehensive two-child policy, and this year implemented a three-child policy. In this context, the situation faced by parents has also changed, which has led to more pressure to raise children. This study explored the relationships among mothers’ parenting stress, maternal warmth, preschool children’s social competence, and their sibling relationships. Whether the pressure affect social competence, and whether the sibling relationships and maternal warmth play a chain-mediating role in the relationships. In this study, data were collected in two periods. The second survey was conducted one year later. This study included 180 preschool children and their mothers. The results revealed that mothers’ parenting stress negatively predicted children’s social competence and behavior. Sibling relationships and maternal warmth had a significant chain mediation effect on mothers’ parenting stress and children’s sensitive cooperation and anger attacks. The results suggests mothers’ parenting stress increased, the maternal warmth behavior decreased, sibling hostility increased, then children expressed less sensitive cooperation and increased anger and aggressive behavior.

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The datasets generated during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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This study was supported by the Project of the Municipal Science and Technology Commission of Beijing, China (19530050130), Capacity Building for Sci-Tech Innovation-Fundamental Scientific Research Funds (19530050186), the Social Science General Project (SM202010028010), and by the 2016 Key Youth Project of Humanities and Social Science Projects of Higher Education in Zhejiang Province (2016QN018).We also express our appreciation to the staff of the Infant and Child Learning and Developmental Lab at the College of Preschool Education, Capital Normal University.

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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection and analysis were performed by Guoying Qian, Jin Mei. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Guoying Qian, Jin Mei, Suo Jiang and Li Tian, and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Suo Jiang or Li Tian.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from legal guardians.

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Qian, G., Mei, J., Jiang, S. et al. Two-child mothers’ parenting stress and children’s social competence: a chain mediating model. Curr Psychol (2022).

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  • Two-child family
  • Preschool children
  • Parenting stress
  • Maternal warmth
  • Sibling relationships
  • Social competence