Pathways to parenting stress reduction among parents in South Africa

Adeem Ahmad Massarwi, Lucie Cluver, Franziska Meinck, Jenny Doubt, Ohad Green

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Parenting stress has a range of effects on parents and their children. Despite existing evidence on the effectiveness of family-based interventions on reducing parenting stress, little is known about the mechanism of change that contributes to its reduction. This study investigates the mechanism of change in a parenting programme (Parenting for Lifelong Health [PLH]) on reducing parenting stress among parents of adolescents in South Africa. A pragmatic cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted among a total sample of 552 parents and primary caregivers (aged, M = 49.37; SD = 14.69) who were recruited from 40 communities in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province. A mediation analysis was performed to investigate direct and indirect effects using PROCESS macrostatistical software. The findings of the study indicate that parenting stress reduction operates via three significant mediators: improved parent–child relationship (β = 0.058, P < 0.000), reduced parental depression (β = −0.103, P < 0.000) and reduced family financial strain (β = −0.049, P < 0.000). The findings of the study highlight the importance of considering child, parental and contextual factors in the design and development of interventions aimed at reducing parenting stress in families in low- and middle-income settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-193
Number of pages10
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • parental mental health
  • parenting stress
  • parent–child relationship
  • poverty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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