Friday, January 13, 2023: 2:00 PM-3:30 PM
Camelback A, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Mental Health
Ruth Paris, PhD, Boston University
Parents' mental health is profoundly connected to their young child's growth and development across the globe. Moreover, social inequities such as low socioeconomic status, racial/ethnic discrimination, and/or immigration often impact parental well-being and shape how individual parents manage subsequent stressors. Parents' mental health difficulties, such as posttraumatic stress and depression, and concomitant experiences such as guilt, helplessness, and exhaustion are associated with how adults experience parenting and how they subsequently parent their children. It is important to better understand the relationships among these factors for parents globally to develop effective interventions and/or to culturally adapt current EBPs for effective implementation. The four papers in this symposium, representing research in three different countries, use quantitative and qualitative data to examine experiences of parental mental health with the aim of identifying coping and protective factors. Paper number one, using survey data, examines whether the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated social inequities for pregnant and postpartum Israeli Jewish and Arab women creating maternal mental health outcome disparities. Findings demonstrate that maternal depressive symptoms, which were elevated during the pandemic, vary differentially for Jewish and Arab women, with higher COVID-19 contamination and economic anxiety moderating depression for the former (more depression) and higher social support moderating depression for the latter (less depression). Paper number two explores possible protective factors that could mediate the relationship between maternal trauma and parenting stress among largely low-income Latinx immigrant mothers in the US who were participating in an adapted version of Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) in Spanish with their young children. Results suggest that social support and family functioning may act as buffers for the mothers, despite their extensive trauma-related symptoms. Paper number three examines posttreatment qualitative interviews with the same Latinx immigrant mothers in the US who participated in CPP. The analysis focuses on their experiences of the bilingual/bicultural clinician and perceived benefits of the intervention. Findings reveal that mothers perceive the clinicians as friends, family, and professionals, who teach them to better understand and interact with their children and to feel better about themselves as people and mothers. Finally, paper number four reports on outcomes from a randomized wait list-controlled trial of a dyadic psychosocial intervention for children with eczema and their parents in Hong Kong focused on improving quality of life and coping related to managing a chronic illness. Results show significant improvement for parents on many dimensions including holistic well-being, perceived stress, and anxiety demonstrating the importance of addressing the psychosocial aspects of childhood illness for both the parent and the child.
Collectively, these four papers advance our understanding of the similar factors that contribute to mental health for parents from multiple cultures, living away from home countries, or in marginalized conditions. Both stressors and protective factors are identified, along with how they function within families. Findings also illustrate potential avenues for offering culturally responsive interventions. Further social work research should continue to expand on this line of cross-cultural inquiry.
* noted as presenting author