Social Science & Medicine
Child maltreatment and problematic parenting are related to negative outcomes for children. Poor parental health could be a risk factor for problematic parenting through several mechanisms: 1) inadequate emotional regulation and coping; 2) impairment of parental capacity; and, 3) impairment of the parent-child relationship.
This study examines relationships between self-rated parental health, prescription drug use, and a broad array of negative parenting outcomes.
A sample of general population parents of children aged ten and younger was recruited from 30 mid-sized cities in California (n = 681). Weighted mixed-effects negative binomial and logistic regression models were used to examine associations between poor parental health, prescription drug use and child maltreatment (physical abuse, supervisory neglect, and physical neglect), and problematic parenting (psychological aggression and corporal punishment).
Parents in poor health used physical abuse, corporal punishment, and psychological aggression more frequently and had higher odds of supervisory neglect. Parents who were taking more prescription medications had higher odds of physical neglect. Exploratory analyses suggested that prescriptions for certain medical conditions both increased and decreased the risk of problematic parenting.
Poor health and prescription drug use are not uncommon and present largely under-recognized risk factors for a spectrum of adverse parenting outcomes. Our study provides additional evidence that parents in poor health are at heightened risk of negative parenting, and need targeted intervention supports to support family well-being.
Parental health, Child maltreatment, Corporal punishment, Prescription drug use
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Jennifer Price Wolf, Bridget Freisthler, and Karla Shockley McCarthy. "Parenting in poor health: Examining associations between parental health, prescription drug use, and child maltreatment" Social Science & Medicine (2021). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.113887