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The influence of maternal stress and distress on disruptive behavior problems in boys

, : The influence of maternal stress and distress on disruptive behavior problems in boys. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 44(3): 265-273

Objective: The current study examined how self-reported maternal stress and distress are associated with child disruptive behaviors. Method: Mother and teacher ratings of child disruptive behavior problems (attention problems, aggression, and delinquency) were collected for 215 male participants, ranging in age from 9 to 12 years. Participating mothers also provided self-report data on socioeconomic status (SES), parenting stress, and distress (depression and anxiety/somatization). Results: Low SES was significantly associated with both mother- and teacher-reported child disruptive behavior problems. Regression analyses indicated a relation between parenting stress and mother-reported child disruptive behavior problems, even when controlling for SES. Results also indicated a significant relation between maternal distress and mother-reported child disruptive behavior problems (particularly attention problems), even when controlling for SES and parenting stress. Maternal stress and distress were not significantly related to teacher-reported child disruptive behavior problems. Conclusions: Although the lack of an association between teacher-reported behavior problems and maternal stress and distress could be interpreted as a rater bias by these mothers, it may be that the mothers' symptoms are associated with a stressful home environment, thus exacerbating child disruptive behavior problems and eventually leading to a reciprocal relation between symptomatology in mothers and children.


PMID: 15725971

DOI: 10.1097/00004583-200503000-00011

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