Parenting stress is associated with poor maternal and child outcomes. Multiple contributors to parenting stress have been proposed, but disaggregation of distinct pathways has been relatively unexplored. In addition, the contribution of maternal experience of childhood trauma has been inadequately considered. Childhood trauma and parenting stress are common in mothers in home visiting programs. Understanding the relation between childhood trauma and parenting stress holds promise for improvement of home visiting approaches. This study examined the relation between childhood trauma and parenting stress, with a focus on the mediating roles of depression and social support. Participants consisted of 208 first-time mothers enrolled in a home visiting program who were assessed at about 5 months' postpartum. Measures of maternal childhood trauma, depression, social support, and parenting stress were administered. A multiple mediator model revealed that childhood trauma was related to parenting stress, and the relation between childhood trauma and parenting stress was separately mediated by both depression and social support. Depression and social support uniquely and distinctly accounted for the association between childhood trauma and parenting stress. Home visiting programs may improve their impact on parenting stress by augmenting or modifying strategies to more effectively address maternal depression and social support.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health