Psychology

Title

Predictors of parenting stress in lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parents during early parenthood

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Little work has examined parenting stress in adoptive parents, particularly lesbian and gay adoptive parents. The current longitudinal study examined parent-reported child characteristics (measured postplacement) and parent and family characteristics (measured preplacement) as predictors of postplacement parenting stress and change in parenting stress across three time points during the first 2 years of adoptive parenthood, among 148 couples (50 lesbian, 40 gay, and 58 heterosexual) who were first-time parents. Children in the sample were, on average, 5.61 months (SD = 10.26) when placed, and 2.49 years (SD =.85) at the 2 year postplacement follow-up. Findings revealed that parents who had been placed with older children and parents who perceived severe emotional/behavioral problems in their children reported more postplacement stress. In addition, parents who reported fewer depressive symptoms, more love for their partners, and more family and friend support during the preplacement period had less postplacement stress. Parenting stress decreased for parents who perceived severe emotional/behavioral problems in their children, but it increased somewhat for those who reported developmental problems in their children. Findings highlight vulnerabilities and resources that may shape adoptive parents' experiences of stress in early parenthood, and have implications for both researchers and professionals who wish to support adoptive family adjustment. © 2014 American Psychological Association.

Publication Title

Journal of Family Psychology

Publication Date

2014

Volume

28

Issue

2

First Page

125

Last Page

137

ISSN

0893-3200

DOI

10.1037/a0036007

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