Parents of children with developmental disabilities (DD) typically report higher levels of parental stress than parents of typically developing children. While the majority of the literature addresses child behavior problems as predictors of parental stress, research has shown that the relation is bi-directional. However, very little research has examined the effects of parental stress on child behavior problems and the possible parenting factors that may explain this relation. The current study utilized data from the Mindful Awareness for Parenting Stress (MAPS) study (N = 31; % male = 67.7, mean age = 3.5, SD = .96; 81% ethic minority), and examined positive parenting behaviors as mediators in the relation between parenting distress and child behavior. Results from a multiple mediation analysis indicated that parental distress had a significant direct effect on total child behavior problems, b = 1.11, p < .05. Additionally, Quality of Mother’s Assistance was a significant mediator in the relation between parental distress and child behavior problems, ab = .482, 95% BCa 95% CI [.022, 2.33]. Neither Level of Involvement nor Mother’s Supportive Presence significantly mediated the relation between Parental Distress and Child Behavior Problems, ps > .05. Findings suggest that improving the quality of the parent/child interaction may play a key role in the relation between parenting stress and child behavior problems. The current study could help to inform future parenting interventions by emphasizing the importance of targeting quality of parent assistance type parenting behaviors for improving child behavior outcomes.

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology


Clinical Psychology


School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Neece, Cameron L.

Second Advisor

Schellinger, Kriston B.

Third Advisor

Vermeersch, David A.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Child Development Disorders; Child Behavior Disorders; Stress; Psychological; Parenting - Psychology;

Subject - Local

Parental distress; Mindful Awareness for Parenting Stress; Positive Parenting Behaviors; Mother's Supportive Presence; Level of Involvement



Page Count


Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives