Parental stress and relational quality in the parent-child dyad

Karen Weiss, Pace University


Parental stress and its relationship to parenting and parent-child interactions is a highly researched area. However, existing research has several limitations. Of particular interest is the Jack of differentiation between various types of stresses that parents experience, and the different associations of different stresses on parental behavior and the dyadic relationship. The current study, using 26 parent-child dyads, studies the differential relationship of parenting, life, and event stress on parent-child relational quality in a community sample. Parent-child behavior and relational quality were assessed using the Parent-Child Early Relational Assessment (PCERA) (Clark, 1985). Additionally, the moderational influence of social support was evaluated. Problems achieving adequate reliability suggest difficulties with the application of the PCERA to a community sample. Results indicated a lack of linearity with respect to the correspondence between parent behavior, child characteristics, and dyadic relational quality. Instead, results support a complex model of stress, in which the particular type of stress affects particular parent-child interaction patterns in different ways. The moderational impact of social support followed a similar pattern, but was most strongly related to the presence of parental life stress. Implications for a more nuanced understanding of parent-child dyadic behavior are proposed.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Developmental psychology|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Weiss, Karen, "Parental stress and relational quality in the parent-child dyad" (2009). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3370552.



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