Factors Associated with Parenting Stress and Self-Competence in Single and Married Mothers of Preschool-Aged Children


Erin Tentis

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This study examined the differences between married and single mothers in parenting stress and parenting self-competence. Fifty married and 45 single mothers of children aged 3- 4- or 5-years old participated in this study. Each mother completed a packet of questionnaires that included a demographics form, the Parenting Stress Index - Short Form, the Parenting Sense of Competence scale, the Daily Hassles subscale of the Hassles and Uplifts Scale, the Social Provisions Scale, the Colorado Child Temperament Inventory, and the Child Behavior Questionnaire.

Results indicated that married and single mothers do not differ in the extent to which they feel stressed or competent in the parenting role. Perceived social support and daily hassles were both predictive of parenting stress and parenting self-competence for married mothers, while daily hassles was more influential for single mothers. Neither family structure (i.e., married versus single) nor socioeconomic status moderated the relationship between the predictor variables and the dependent variables, parenting stress and parenting self-competence. Implications of these findings and limitations of the study are discussed.

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