The Relationship between Parental Distress and Child Emotional Problems

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Evelyn Tiffanie Anak Edil, Aruna Narayanasamy, Nursyuhaidah Mohd. Kadri


The demands of parenting a young child create parental distress due to the mismatch between the expected parenting role and availability of resources. Extensive research has identified parental distress as a risk factor for child emotional problems such as anxiety (León-Del-Barco  et al., 2019), depression (León-Del-Barco  et al., 2019), and sadness (Xuan, Chen et al, 2018). However, most studies in this field have only focused on adolescents (Finkenauer, C., Engels, R., &Baumeister, R., 2005; Ara, E., 2015). Thus, this research was intended to investigate the relationship between parental distress and child emotional problems in Selangor. A total of 103 parents including 67 mothers and 36 fathers of children from the age range of 4 to 6 years old were employed using convenient sampling. Parenting Stress Index-Short Form and Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales (PKBS-2) were utilized as the instruments of the study. Data were obtained via online survey and were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). The major findings of the study showed that the parental distress is positively correlated to children’s emotional problem (r=0.840***, p=0.00) which indicates the higher the parental distress, the higher the children’s emotional problem. To be specific, the majority of the respondents showed high level of parental distress and most of the respondents also indicated moderate level of children’s emotional problem. This study suggests to consider strategies to examine parenting stress and the interventions to reduce the parenting stress.

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