11-04-2022 | Review
Exposure to Negative Life Events and Parental Subjective Evaluations of Stress: A Meta-Analysis
Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Child and Family Studies | Uitgave 12/2022Log in om toegang te krijgen
Parental stress is an important correlate of numerous parenting problems and child outcome. However, measures of parental stress do not always refer to similar concepts. In general, there is wide recognition that, as a stress-related concept, parental stress is anchored in the experience of negative life events (NLEs). Other researchers have defined stress in terms of questionnaire-based subjective measures (SMs). Several studies suggest that the relation between NLEs and SMs varies. Among the possible moderators of this association is the type of SM, participant characteristics, the period of parenthood examined, and the use of prospective or retrospective research designs. The purpose of the present meta-analysis is to provide a better understanding of the relation between parental exposure to NLEs and SMs. Studies published between 1970 and June 2020 were selected using MEDLINE and PSYCINFO. Inclusion criteria required that studies involve parents of 0 to 18-year-old children and report an association between NLEs and SMs. Results for the 31 studies meeting criteria showed a moderate relation between parental NLEs and SMs (d = 0.54***, p < 0.001; Q = 324.10***; k = 31). Moderation analyses revealed that the type of SM, period of parenthood and geographical region moderated effect sizes. The NLE-SM association was greatest for “state” measures of stress, with effect size for “trait” assessments being non-significant. Greater effect size was also found for studies conducted during the prenatal period and in North America. Discussion focuses on defining stress more precisely when addressing the circumstances in which parenting takes place.