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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Maternal ADHD symptoms and parenting stress : the roles of personality and parenting self-efficacy beliefs Williamson, David Kenneth


ADHD symptoms in adults are consistently related to the experience of stress in a variety of domains. One domain that often elicits feelings of stress is parenting, and it is not clear to what extent maternal ADHD symptoms are directly related to the stress that mothers feel as a parent and to what extent this relationship is mediated by other variables. This dissertation examined whether parenting self-efficacy beliefs mediate the relationship between maternal ADHD symptoms and parenting stress. Further, this mediation was hypothesized to be conditional on the levels of maternal neuroticism. In this study, 120 mothers of 6-12 year old children completed an online study, and they also provided collateral informants who reported on the mother’s level of ADHD symptoms and neuroticism. Maternal ADHD symptoms were found to be significantly associated with parenting stress, but this relationship was partially mediated by parenting self-efficacy beliefs. Maternal neuroticism was related to parenting stress, parenting self-efficacy beliefs, and maternal ADHD symptoms, but did not moderate the mediation. However, follow-up exploratory analyses revealed that parenting self-efficacy beliefs are central in mediating the relationship between a variety of mother-centered variables and parenting stress. In addition, the indirect effect of parenting self-efficacy beliefs on the relationship between maternal ADHD symptoms and parenting stress is better accounted for by positive and negative parenting behavior and by maternal feelings of warmth and tenderness towards their child. The results highlight the importance of self-efficacy beliefs in the functioning of mothers, and that awareness of a mother’s psychological symptoms is not sufficient to understand her experience of parenting self-efficacy beliefs or parenting stress.

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