Children’s mental health problems and their relation to parental stress in foster mothers and fathers

Lohaus A, Chodura S, Möller C, Symanzik T, Ehrenberg D, Job A-K, Reindl V, Konrad K, Heinrichs N (2017)
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 11: 43.

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Journal Article | Review | Published | English
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Abstract
Background This study focuses on children living in foster families with a history of maltreatment or neglect. These children often show adverse mental health outcomes reflected in increased externalizing and internalizing problems. It is expected that these adverse outcomes are associated with increased parental stress levels experienced by foster mothers as well as foster fathers. Methods The study sample included 79 children living in foster families and 140 children living in biological families as comparison group. The age of the children ranged from 2 to 7 years. Mental health problems were assessed with the Child Behavior Checklist, while parenting stress was measured with a parenting stress questionnaire including subscales on the amount of experienced stress and the amount of perceived support. The Child Behavior Checklist assessments were based mainly on maternal reports, while the parental stress assessments were based on maternal as well as paternal reports. Results As expected the results showed increased externalizing and internalizing scores for the foster children accompanied by increased parental stress experiences in the foster family sample (however only in the maternal, but not in the paternal stress reports). The stress differences between the foster and biological family groups disappeared, when the children’s mental health problem scores were included as covariates. Moreover, especially the externalizing scores were strong predictors of parental stress in both, the groups of foster and biological parents. The amount of perceived social support was associated with reduced parental stress, but only in the group of biological fathers. Conclusion The emergence of parental stress in biological as well as foster parents is closely related to child characteristics (mainly externalizing child problems). Possible implications for the reduction of parental stress are discussed as a consequence of the present results.
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Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Open Access Publication Fund of Bielefeld University.
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Lohaus A, Chodura S, Möller C, et al. Children’s mental health problems and their relation to parental stress in foster mothers and fathers. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health. 2017;11: 43.
Lohaus, A., Chodura, S., Möller, C., Symanzik, T., Ehrenberg, D., Job, A. - K., Reindl, V., et al. (2017). Children’s mental health problems and their relation to parental stress in foster mothers and fathers. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 11, 43. doi:10.1186/s13034-017-0180-5
Lohaus, A., Chodura, S., Möller, C., Symanzik, T., Ehrenberg, D., Job, A. - K., Reindl, V., Konrad, K., and Heinrichs, N. (2017). Children’s mental health problems and their relation to parental stress in foster mothers and fathers. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 11:43.
Lohaus, A., et al., 2017. Children’s mental health problems and their relation to parental stress in foster mothers and fathers. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 11: 43.
A. Lohaus, et al., “Children’s mental health problems and their relation to parental stress in foster mothers and fathers”, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, vol. 11, 2017, : 43.
Lohaus, A., Chodura, S., Möller, C., Symanzik, T., Ehrenberg, D., Job, A.-K., Reindl, V., Konrad, K., Heinrichs, N.: Children’s mental health problems and their relation to parental stress in foster mothers and fathers. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health. 11, : 43 (2017).
Lohaus, Arnold, Chodura, Sabrina, Möller, Christine, Symanzik, Tabea, Ehrenberg, Daniela, Job, Ann-Katrin, Reindl, Vanessa, Konrad, Kerstin, and Heinrichs, Nina. “Children’s mental health problems and their relation to parental stress in foster mothers and fathers”. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health 11 (2017): 43.
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