Health Limitations Among Mothers and Fathers: Implications for Parenting

Full Article

Despite the good reasons in which poor health could impede parenting, relatively little research considers this possibility. This study uses data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 3,376) and propensity score match- ing to examine the relationship between maternal and paternal health limitations—health conditions that limit the amount or type of work one can do—and mother- and father-reported parenting stress, cooperation in parenting, and engagement with children. First, the authors find that mothers’ and fathers’ health limitations are associated with greater parenting stress. Second, they find evidence of spillover associations; when compared with their counterparts, parents with health limitations report that their child’s other parent exhibits less cooperation. Third, they find that the associations between health and parenting are not moderated by parents’ coresidential status. Taken together, these findings inform the stress process perspective and its implications for family life.

Turney, Kristin, and Jessica Halliday Hardie. 2018. “Health Limitations Among Mothers and Fathers: Implications for Parenting.” Journal of Marriage and Family 80:219–238.