Tag Archives: family systems theory

Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Relationships between the Adequacy of Family Resources and Parenting Stress (Published)

Citation: Carl J. Dunst (2022) Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Relationships between the Adequacy of Family Resources and Parenting Stress, International Journal of Health and Psychology Research, Vol.10, No.1, pp.18-30

Abstract: The birth and rearing of a child with a developmental disability or chronic medical condition is often a stressful life event for parents. Family system theory includes the tenet that the presence of family strengths, resources, and supports can buffer parents and other primary caregivers from the adverse effects of stressful life events. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was the evaluate the relationships between the adequacy of family resources and three types of parenting stress (parental distress, difficult child-related stress, and dysfunctional parent-child interactions). Eleven studies including 14 independent samples of study participants met the inclusion criteria (N = 3030 parents and other primary caregivers). Ten studies were conducted in the United States and one study was conducted in South Africa between 1994 and 2018. The participants’ children had either identified disabilities (N = 8 samples) or medical diagnoses (N = 6 samples). Meta-Essentials was used to perform the systematic review and meta-analysis and included forest plot analysis, publication bias analysis, effect size aggregation, between type of parenting stress subscale comparisons, and moderator analysis. The adequacy of family resources was significantly related to less parental distress, less child-related stress, and less difficult parent-child interactional patterns. The directions of effect were the same in every study and every sample of study participants. The size of effect between the independent and dependent measures was larger for parental distress (r = -.48, 95% CI = -.51 to -.44, p < .001) compared to both child-related stress (r = -.31, 95% CI = -.42 to -.19, p < .001) and dysfunctional parent-child interactional patterns (r = -.24, 95% CI = -.29 to -.20, p < .001). There were no differences in the sizes of effect for parents of children with identified disabilities or medical diagnoses. The pattern of results is consistent with the hypothesis that the adequacy of family resources would lessen parenting stress related to the birth and rearing of a child with a developmental disability or chronic medical condition.

Keywords: Family resources, Systematic Review, family systems theory, meta-analysis, parenting stress