Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The current study assessed the relationships among parenting stress, social support, marital satisfaction and psychological adjustment in a sample of 96 mothers of hearing impaired preschoolers and 118 matched mothers of nondisabled children. Two competing models of the effects of social support and specific personality variables on adjustment were tested: the "buffer" and mediator models. Respondents completed a structured interview and a series of standardized questionnaires. Factor analyses of the independent variables yielded two dimensions of parenting stress and three dimensions of social support.;Significant group differences were obtained on the measures of parenting stress, marital satisfaction and psychological adjustment. Moderating effects for social support and the personality variables of endurance and nurturance were not obtained. However, path analytic techniques showed a significant mediating effect for perceived support and marital satisfaction. Higher levels of parenting stress produced decreased perceptions of emotional support, which in turn led to elevated symptoms of depression and anxiety. The results of the study were interpreted in light of the larger social support literature.



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