Parenting stress and program support acceptance among Mexican American Head Start mothers
AuthorSewell, Margaret G.
KeywordsEducation, Early Childhood.
Sociology, Individual and Family Studies.
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies.
AdvisorTaylor, Angela R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study examined conditions under which low income mothers engage in voluntary supportive relationships with community-based early childhood programs. Parenting stress and support processes were examined in a population of low-income Mexican American Head Start mothers. A new construct, program support acceptance, describes mothers' appraisal of the program as a potential source of parenting support. Research questions related to (a) the relationship between Time 1 (fall) parenting stress and mid-year program support acceptance, (b) the relationship between mid-year program support acceptance and Time 2 (spring) parenting stress, and (c) the contribution of program support acceptance to longitudinal change in parenting stress. The study also considered contextual variables (acculturation, maternal education, stressful life events, partner status, and extended household) as predictors of parenting stress and program support acceptance, and potential moderation of parenting stress and support linkages by acculturation. Finally, the study considered the theoretical issue of whether parenting stress serves to motivate or inhibit support-seeking (reflected in program support acceptance) as a coping behavior. The guiding theoretical framework for the study was based on Abidin's parenting stress model (1983, 1992), and Lazarus and Folkman's general model of stress, appraisal and coping (1984), as well as family support literature based in ecological systems theory. Mean levels of parenting stress declined significantly from Time 1 to Time 2 for mothers in the Head Start program. The contextual variables did not significantly predict Time 1 parenting stress, and marginally predicted program support acceptance. Higher Time 1 parenting stress scores significantly predicted lower levels of mid-year program support acceptance. Higher program support acceptance scores at mid-year significantly predicted lower Time 2 parenting stress in bivariate analysis, but dropped to non-significance after controlling for Time 1 parenting stress. Acculturation did not moderate linkages between parenting stress and program support acceptance. However, several relationships were significant for immigrant generation mothers which were not significant for later generation mothers. In the immigrant group, being partnered predicted higher program support acceptance, and program support acceptance contributed significantly to lower Time 2 parenting stress. Higher maternal education level was associated with lower Time 2 parenting stress.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Family Studies and Human Development