Predictors of parenting behavior and parenting satisfaction among parents that transited to parenting during the war in Croatia  [presentation, ppt, 459 kB]

Kuterovac Jagodić G., Keresteš G., Brković I.
First author's affiliation: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zagreb, Croatia

Studies have documented a relationship between different parental stressors and parenting behavior, but effects of war on parenting behavior has not been studied often. This study examined relationship between subjective war stress, perceived social support, parental mental health indices (depression and aggressive and hostile behavior), and self-reported parenting behaviors and parenting satisfaction. The sample consisted of 812 pairs of mothers and fathers from 10 Croatian cities and towns differently affected by the war 1991-1995. The mean age of mothers was 39 and fathers 42 years at the time of data collection, i.e. 25 and 28 at the beginning of the war. The average number of children per family was two, and their age at the time of the study ranged from 10 to 15 years. There were 54.7% daughters and all the children were born during the war in Croatia. Separate hierarchical regression analyses were performed for maternal and paternal positive and negative parenting and parenting satisfaction as dependent variables. In each regression child demographic variables were entered first (age and gender), followed by self perceived negative effects of war on relationship with others, on life values and on life circumstances, social support was entered in the third step, and parental mental health indices entered in the last step. The results indicate significant association of self perceived negative effects of war, parental mental health and social support with their parenting behavior and satisfaction. These associations suggest that war and problems with mental health may have deleterious effects on parental behavior and parenting satisfaction, while self perceived social support seems to have more beneficial effect on positive parental behaviors and parenting satisfaction than on negative parental behaviors.