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Browsing by Author "Arasalö, Martta"

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  • Arasalö, Martta (2021)
    Objectives: The well-being of young children’s parents has sparked interest in public discussion. Parents without a partner often experience higher distress compared to parents with a partner. Support from other people and family services might matter more for the former group. Social support’s effect on parental distress demands more research in Nordic welfare societies. The aim is to study Finnish mothers’ general stress and parenting demands, and their associations with partner status and support from other people and family services. Methods. The sample consisted of 5-year-old children’s mothers (n=714) participating in the CHILD SLEEP cohort study (THL). General stress and parenting demands were measured with the Perceived Stress Scale and the Parenting Stress Index. Mothers evaluated the amount and adequacy of childcare support from family, friends, and family services. Controlled variables were depression, anxiety, family structure and socioeconomic status. Linear regression models were used as analysis. Results. Most mothers reported moderate general stress and few experienced parenthood as demanding. Distress was not associated with partner status or the amount of support. Adequate support from family and friends was linked to lesser distress; similar indications were found with family service support. More mothers without a partner experienced inadequate support compared to those with a partner. Regardless of partner status lower distress was linked to adequate support, however associations were statistically significant more often among mothers with a partner. Conclusions. Preschool children’s mothers have moderate distress levels, and support from family and friends appears important for their well-being. Family service support requires more research. Similar distress levels regardless of partner status contradicts previous research, although the experience of insufficient support among mothers without a partner demands more investigation. Further research should use more representative samples regarding socioeconomic factors and family structure, and more varied measures of social support and partner status.