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01-02-2009 | Original Paper | Uitgave 1/2009

Journal of Child and Family Studies 1/2009

Validity of the Short Form of the Parenting Stress Index for Fathers of Toddlers

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 1/2009
Lorraine M. McKelvey, Leanne Whiteside-Mansell, Richard A. Faldowski, Jeffrey Shears, Catherine Ayoub, Andrea D. Hart


We examined the psychometric properties of two scales of the parenting stress index-short form (PSI-SF) in a low-income sample of fathers of toddlers. The factor structure, reliability, and validity of the parental distress and parent–child dysfunctional interaction subscales were assessed for 696 fathers in a multi-site study of Early Head Start. Confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) compared the fit of the developer recommended two-factor scales with five-factor scales theoretically derived and supported with mothers. Our results suggested that two subscales from the PSI-SF were reliable and valid for this sample of racially diverse, low-income fathers of toddlers. However, these subscales capture multiple dimensions of parenting stress and results also supported the use of more narrowly defined aspects of parenting stress that included general distress, distress specifically related to parenting demands, problematic interactions of the father–toddler dyad, perceptions of the child, and parental perceptions of self as a parent. These unidimensional scales may prove useful in research and clinical activities by allowing researchers to elucidate the mechanisms through which stress impacts parenting and permitting clinicians information to develop more targeted interventions for young children and their families.

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