Efficacy and social support as predictors of parenting stress among families in poverty

H. Abigail Raikes, Ross A. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Using a sample of low-income mothers enrolled in Early Head Start (n = 65), this study tested the hypothesis that parenting stress is affected by social support and self-efficacy, in addition to family risk status and family income. Specifically, it was proposed that social support and self-efficacy are psychological resources that are associated with lower parenting stress levels, and would moderate the impact of family income on parenting stress. A significant proportion of variance in parenting stress was explained by self-efficacy, family risk, and the interaction of self-efficacy and family income; family income alone was not a significant predictor of parenting stress levels. Mothers higher in self-efficacy had lower levels of parenting stress, and income was less associated with parenting stress levels for mothers high in self-efficacy. Social support was not associated with lower parenting stress levels, nor did social support moderate the effect of income on parenting stress. Family risk was also a strong and reliable predictor of parenting stress, suggesting that family circumstances are perhaps better predictors of parenting stress levels than income alone. These findings suggest that parenting stress among low-income parents should be viewed as a function of psychological, as well as financial, resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-190
Number of pages14
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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