Life Stress, Maternal Inhibitory Control, and Quality of Parenting Behaviors
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Negative life stress and maternal inhibitory control are both critical ingredients involved in the shaping and maintaining of the quality of parenting behaviors. This study explored both how the experience of stressful life events and inhibitory control relate to two particular types of parenting behaviors: harsh/controlling and autonomy-supportive. Given that these two types of parenting have broad implications for children’s developmental trajectories, it is important to further enhance our understanding of the etiological factors that both shape and maintain parenting practices. Utilizing a high-risk sample (i.e. low SES, high presence of documented child maltreatment) of mothers with pre-school aged children, this study did not support the relationship between the experience of stressful life events, maternal inhibitory control and quality of parenting. However, post hoc analyses of life stress using a measure of objective SES did yield a significant link between stress and the presence of autonomy-supportive parenting. This study expands the current understanding of how stress and inhibitory control relate to parenting behaviors. Implications of this study for practice and research are discussed.