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01-06-2011 | Original Paper | Uitgave 3/2011

Journal of Child and Family Studies 3/2011

Bidirectional Relationships Between Parenting Stress and Child Coping Competence: Findings From the Pace Study

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 3/2011
Kimberly A. Cappa, Angela Moreland Begle, Judith C. Conger, Jean E. Dumas, Anthony J. Conger


The present study was designed to evaluate the bidirectional relationships between parenting stress and child coping competence. Data from a diverse sample of 610 parents enrolled in the parenting our children to excellence program was used to evaluate whether parenting stress negatively contributes to affective, achievement, and social coping competence in preschoolers, as well as whether child coping competence predicts parenting stress; after accounting for child disruptive behavior. Results from cross-lagged panel analyses demonstrated a bidirectional relationship, such that parenting stress predicted later child coping competence and child coping competence predicted later parenting stress. Assessment of ethnicity differences indicated that child coping continues to have a long-term impact on parenting stress, regardless of parent ethnicity. The same relationship did not hold for earlier parenting stress on later child coping competence, however, indicating a bidirectional relationship for African American families, but not for their European American counterparts. The relationship between parenting stress and child coping competence is discussed with respect to their conceptual and clinical implications. Suggestions for parent training intervention and prevention programs are given.

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