Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work

Major Professor

William R. Nugent

Committee Members

Catherine A. Faver, A. Elfin Moses, Schuyler W. Huck


The focus in this dissertation was on the interrelationships among parenting beliefs, parenting stress, and parent-child interaction. It was hypothesized that mothers' addiction status moderated these interrelationships when controlling for the effects of income, levels of education, race, age, number of children, and child's prematurity status.

Data from a program evaluation of a residential addiction treatment program and comparison data from five day care centers were collected from August 1991 to August 1993 using the Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory, the Parenting Stress Index, and the Parent-Child Interaction Form. The sample included 39 polydrug-addicted and 31 non-drug-addicted mothers of infants and young children (up to three years old). The groups were similar in racial make up, age of mothers, and the prematurity status of the target children. The groups differed significantly in terms of marital status, income, number of years of education, and number of children.

Zero-order and partial correlation analyses were used to test the research hypotheses. Power analyses were used to address the ability to detect effects given the small sample size.

The zero-order correlation results for N = 70 supported the hypothesis of interrelationships among parenting beliefs, parenting stress, and parent-child interaction. Mothers, regardless of addiction status, tended to have higher levels of stress associated with negative beliefs about parenting and child development; higher stress levels were associated with deficits in parent-child interaction. Positive parenting beliefs were associated with high evidence of appropriate parent-child interaction.

Controlling for the effects of background variables, results for the poly-drug-addicted mothers indicated no interrelationships among parenting beliefs, parenting stress, and parent-child interaction. However, the power of these tests for within group correlations was quite low. A negative correlation was found between parenting beliefs and parenting stress in the non-drug-addicted group. Tests of the significance of the difference between the group partial correlations coefficients for the relationship between parenting beliefs and parent stress indicated no significant difference. The power of these tests was also very low due to the small sample size.

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