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Browsing by Author "Väisänen, Elina"

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  • Väisänen, Elina (2023)
    Background: Parenting stress, romantic relationship satisfaction and their associations have been studied extensively, mostly with cross-sectional studies and in different clinical groups. However, parents of young children in non-clinical groups are less studied, especially with longitudinal settings. The aim of this master’s thesis is to investigate the change in maternal parenting stress over time, associations with romantic relationship satisfaction and if romantic relationship satisfaction modifies the change in parenting stress. Methods: Our sample (n = 361) is drawn from the prospective cohort study “The InTraUterine sampling in early pregnancy” (ITU). Participating mothers took part in two follow-up assessments: first at the child’s age of 1–2-years and second at 3 years. Parenting stress was assessed at the first and second follow-ups with the “Parenting Stress Index-Short Form” (PSI-SF) questionnaire with three subscales: parental distress, parent-child dysfunctional interaction and difficult child. Romantic relationship satisfaction was assessed at the first follow-up with the satisfaction subscale form the “Dyadic Adjustment Scale” (DAS) questionnaire. Data were analyzed using linear regression models and mixed models. Child’s age, sex, daycare, and siblings, as well as mother’s education and mental health disorders were controlled for in the analyses. Results: Higher parenting stress at the first follow-up was associated with higher parenting stress at the second follow-up. Higher romantic relationship satisfaction was associated with lower parenting stress at the first follow-up in all the subscales, and at the second follow-up in parental distress and difficult child subscales. Parenting stress related to difficult child’s subscale appeared to increase over time in the entire sample, but in the closer examination the changes in parenting stress were partly different in the groups of high and low romantic relationship satisfaction. Controlling for background variables did not affect the results. Conclusions: The results of this thesis fill the previous gaps in longitudinal settings and studies carried out with mothers of young children in non-clinical groups. It seems that romantic relationship satisfaction may be connected to parenting stress and its change in the early childhood. A broader understanding of these phenomena in the family context may be beneficial for applications, for example in health care, in preventing problems and promoting wellbeing of families with children.