Publication Date

Spring 4-9-2013


College of Arts and Sciences


Psychology: Clinical/Experimental

Primary Subject Area

Psychology, Developmental


parental distress, parent behaviors, cumulative risk, mediation, supportiveness, intrusiveness


Child Psychology | Developmental Psychology


Cumulative risk is a salient construct addressed in family dynamics research. There have been multiple relationships established among cumulative risk, parenting, and child outcomes through previous research. The current study furthered this body of research by addressing the role of parenting distress within models predicting parenting behaviors within a context of risk. Cumulative risk, parenting, child behavior, and transactional relationships highlighted the relationships between an environment of risk and resulting parenting outcomes. It was predicted that parental distress will act as a mediator variable between the baseline cumulative risk and later parenting behaviors. This hypothesis was tested using data from the national evaluation of Early Head Start federal program. Multiple regression analyses testing this mediation model were analyzed for three different parenting outcomes: supportiveness, intrusiveness, and parent-child interaction. For supportiveness and parent-child interaction the hypothesized mediation relationship of parental distress was supported. The resulting findings have implications for future research and family interventions, especially in the environmental context of risk.