Stressful Life Events and Perceived Parental Control in Formerly Homeless Families: Impact on Child-Internalizing Symptoms

Stressful Life Events and Perceived Parental Control in Formerly Homeless Families: Impact on Child-Internalizing Symptoms

Research has neglected the potential role of perceived parental control as a moderator between stressful life events (SLEs) and child-internalizing symptoms. Using secondary data from the Early Risers "Skills for Success" Program (August, Realmuto, Hektner, & Bloomquist, 2001), this study examined the impact of perceived parental control on the association between SLEs and child internalizing symptoms in formerly homeless families. The sample consisted of 137 families with 223 children between 4 and 12 years of age (M = 8.1, SD = 2.3) living in supportive housing sites in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Participants completed measures assessing the number of SLEs experienced (e.g., unemployment of parent, death of loved one, serious illness, homelessness), perceived parental control, and child-internalizing symptoms. In this sample, 65% of children (n = 144) experienced at least 1 SLE with an average experience of 2 SLEs (M = 2.0, SD = 1.9, range = 0-7). A regression analysis found that experiencing more SLEs and a perceived absence of parental control over child behavior were positively associated with child-internalizing symptoms. A significant interaction between SLEs and perceived absence of parental control over child behavior in predicting child internalizing symptoms was also found. These findings suggest that children of parents who model appropriate control are more likely to experience fewer internalizing symptoms in response to SLEs

JOURNAL: Am J Orthopsychiatry
PUBLICATION DATE: 2016