The Relation between Parenting Stress and Child Behavior Problems: Negative Parenting Styles as Mediator

Miranda Chi Kuan MAK*, Lu YIN, Minghui LI, Ray Yu-hin CHEUNG, Pey-tee OON

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Parenting young children could be stressful at times and parenting stress could have an impact on parenting styles and child behavior problems which could lead to difficulties in later life. Therefore, the relationship among these three factors is worthy of examination. In this study we aim to examine the direct relationship between parenting stress, parenting styles, and perceived child behavior problems; and to investigate a model that illustrates the mediating role of negative (authoritarian and permissive) parenting styles on the relationship between parenting stress and perceived child behavior problems in China. A total of 371 parents with preschool age children (3 to 7 years old) were recruited. The results showed higher level of parenting stress was associated with higher level of reported child behavior problems. Parenting stress was positively related to negative parenting styles, and negative parenting styles partially mediated the relationship between parenting stress and child behavior problems. Findings from this study suggested that reducing parenting stress, improving parenting behaviors such as parenting styles, and enhancing parent-child relationship through early support (e.g., parenting skills training) are of vital importance and mutual benefits to the parents, children, and family relationships at large.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2993-3003
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number11
Early online date29 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

This study was funded by the University of Macau under the Multi-year Research Grant [MYRG2014-00169-FED].


  • Child behavior problems
  • Mediator
  • Negative (authoritarian and permissive) parenting styles
  • Parenting stress
  • Preschool children


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