Masters Thesis

The Effects of Maternal Stress Spillover on Children's Educational Outcomes

Mothers play important roles within the family. For this reason, it is important to study mothers’ experiences of minor, daily stressors and assess how stress impairs families by spilling over to children. Currently, very few studies in the literature assess the degree to which stress spills over from a mother to a child. In the present study, I examine the relationship between maternal stress spillover and the academic, social and behavioral outcomes of school-aged children. Additionally, I assessed whether the mother-child relationship quality moderated the relationship between maternal stress spillover and academic, social and behavioral outcomes. The sample included 25 motherchild dyads recruited from a private school in Southern California. Children’s ages ranged between eight and 11 years old (M = 9.52, SD = 0.9). Data were collected via surveys and five consecutive daily diary reports. The results of the study indicated that, contrary to my hypothesis, maternal stress was not related to academic achievement, nor overall classroom mood and behavior. Interestingly, maternal stress was negatively correlated with child frustration and child conflict with adults. Finally, the results indicated that the quality of the mother-child relationship did not moderate the relationship between maternal stress and child outcomes.

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