Predictors of parenting stress in Portuguese adolescents' adoptive parents

Isabel‐Sofia Costa, Maria Barbosa‐Ducharne, Jesús Palacios, Joana Soares - Child & Family Social Work


Parenting stress is related to the characteristics of both the child and the parents, as well as to parent–child interactions. In adoptive families, parenting stress has been identified as an indicator of the family's adjustment to adoption. The stress experienced by parents of adopted adolescents deserves special consideration, as adolescence is a critical period in the adoptees' developmental pathway. The present study aims to identify the adoptee, parents and family related predictors of the adoptive parents' parenting stress, exploring direct and indirect effects. Fifty Portuguese adolescents' adoptive parents participated in this study. Parenting stress was measured by the Stress Index for Parents of Adolescents , and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire was used to evaluate the adoptees' (mal)adjustment, according to the parents' perspective. Variables related to the parents' experience of adoption were assessed resorting to the Parent's Interview about the Adoption Process. Results showed that parents' satisfaction and adoptees' adjustment were sequential mediators of the relationship between the parents' experience of family life and parenting stress. These findings provide new insights into adoption research in parenting stress, highlighting the importance of adoption‐related variables such as the parents' adoption experience within the family and family relationships.