Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Mark Pancer

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The present study investigated the relationship between stress, social support and parenting behavior. Eighty-six mothers who had a child enrolled in a daycare center in the Kitchener-Waterloo region volunteered for this study. Participants completed four questionnaires: A Demographic Sheet, the Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen, Kamarck & Mermelstein, 1983), the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (Cohen and Hoberman, 1983), and the Parent Behavior Scale (which was specifically constructed for this study). The overall support scale and the four subscales (tangible, belonging, appraisal, and self-esteem support) were used to determine whether the perceived availability of social support is directly related to parenting behavior (main effect) or whether it moderates the effects of stress on parenting behavior (buffering effect). The results showed that social support was strongly positively related to Positive Parental Behavior. In addition, stress was strongly associated with Negative Parental Behavior. No stress by support interactions were found; hence, the buffering hypothesis was not supported. However, evidence supporting a two-factor model was found, in that social support correlated with Positive Parental Behavior, but not Negative; and Perceived Stress correlated positively with Negative Parental Behavior but not Positive. Limitations of the study, future recommendations and suggestions and for interventions utilizing social support with parents in overcoming stress are discussed.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season