Correlates and Predictors of Parenting Stress among Internationally Adopting Mothers: A Longitudinal Investigation
Viana, Andres G.
Welsh, Janet A.
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This study examined correlates and predictors of parenting stress among internationally adopting (IA) mothers with the goal of expanding the knowledge base on the experiences of adoptive parents. One hundred and forty-three IA mothers completed pre-adoption (Time 0) and six months post-adoption (Time 1) surveys with questions regarding child-, parent-, and family-related characteristics. Mother reports of higher depression symptoms, higher expectations of child developmental and behavioral/emotional problems, and a greater number of children in the family at pre-adoption were significantly related to higher parenting stress six months post-adoption. In contrast, mother reports of higher expectations for child acceptance and higher perceived social support at pre-adoption were significantly related to lower parenting stress six months post-adoption. Higher maternal depression symptoms, higher expectations of child behavior/emotional problems, and a greater number of children in the family at pre-adoption together accounted for 22% of the variance in parenting stress six months post-adoption. Concurrent higher maternal depression symptoms and higher reports of child behavioral/emotional problems predicted higher parenting stress six months post-adoption over and above pre-adoption predictors, and accounted for an additional 33% of the variance. Results and directions for future research are discussed from a transactional perspective, with particular emphasis on the importance of pre-adoptive information for adoption research and practice.