El estrés parental en familias en situación de riesgo psicosocial

  1. Javier Pérez Padilla
Supervised by:
  1. Susana Menéndez Álvarez-Dardet Director

Defence university: Universidad de Huelva

Year of defence: 2014

  1. María Victoria Hidalgo García Chair
  2. Alicia Muñoz Silva Secretary
  3. María Cristina de Oliveira Salgado Nunes Committee member

Type: Thesis


In recent years, researchers from our country have been studying at-risk families in an effort to characterize them. This collective faces multiple adverse circumstances and life stressful events, which require preventive and supporting interventions designed to preserve the family unit (Menéndez, Hidalgo, Jiménez, Lorence, & Sánchez, 2010). For a broad range of reasons, at-risk families have difficulties to adequately provide for their children, and therefore hinder their wellbeing, but not severely enough to entail the child�s placement in foster care (Rodrigo, Máiquez, Martín, & Byrne, 2008). In this study, parenting stress was explored in the mothers of these families. Specifically, Abidin�s model (1992, 1995) of parenting stress was tested, and the data supported its value in these developmental contexts. On the one hand, the author�s sources of parenting stress influence differentially in parenting behavior. On the other hand, this model explains how parenting stress can affect parenting. One of the main aims was to offer data about the validity and reliability of PSI-SF (Abidin, 1995) in at-risk families in Spain. The data showed the instrument�s usefulness in these contexts in its two-subscales form. According to this study, it is necessary to incorporate standardized valuation to complement practitioners´ assessment of the risk level of families assisted by child and family protection services. In fact, the link between this assessment and parenting stress proves the sensibility of PSI-SF to the level of psychosocial risk of these mothers. Results presented here suggest that these appraisals are very relevant, not only to assess family risk but also with regards to decision-making during case planning. Most of the studies with at-risk families conclude that these families are defined by their great heterogeneity, however research evidence also suggests there is a common profile characterized by precariousness. In this study, results revealed three profiles according to parenting stress and coping strategies: Adapted-Strategic (moderate level of parenting stress and high use of active coping), Clinical-Avoidant (clinical level of parenting stress and high level of avoidance), and Extreme-Passive (extreme level of parenting stress and low level of coping strategies). These results illustrate the heterogeneity of these families, as well as the need to design and implement effective family preservation and support interventions according to the mothers� profiles. Furthermore, the influence of parenting stress in general health indicators �and the overall parenting practices- indicate that parenting stress is an essential construct to analyze and to evaluate in at-risk families. Finally, there is evidence that parental agency and coping strategies moderate the parenting stress influence in health and parenting practices. This study provides guidelines for professionals in order to work with these at-risk mothers in a more preventive and strengthening way.