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Parenting Stress And Coping Strategies Among Parents Of Children With

Learning Difficulties; Exploring Connections with Behavioral Problems

Antoniou A.-S.,1 Chalvantzis G.2


1
Associate Professor, Faculty of Primary Education, National and Kapodistrian
University of Athens, Greece, 20 Ippokratous Str., 10680, Athens, Greece
2
Special Education Teacher, 67th Primary School of Athens, Greece, 24 Anafis Str.,
11256, Athens, Greece
Corresponding Author: Chalvantzis G., georgioschalvantzis@gmail.com, +30 698 76
80 457, +30 210 86 52 239

Key Words: Coping, Parenting Stress, Learning Difficulties

Learning difficulties often tend to correlate with high levels of parenting stress among
parents of children with a diagnosis. This fact seems to influence not only parenting
behavior towards children, but also the quality of interaction and the sense of parental
self-efficacy. Whereas behavioral and social problems are observed in children
diagnosed with learning difficulties, parenting stress levels are significantly elevated
and family system adaptation to the stressors appears strenuous.
Primary goal of the survey was to assess and compare the psychological aspects related
to parenting stress, behavioral problems and coping strategies that parents of learning
disabled and typically developing face.
Sample consisted of 193 parents of learning disabled and typically developing children:
66 parents of children with specific learning difficulties’ diagnosis, 43 of those with
non-verbal learning difficulties and 84 parents of typically developing children.
Instruments included Short Form of Parenting Stress Index (PSI-SF; Abidin, 1995),
Eyberg’s Child Behavior Inventory (ECBI; Eyberg & Pincus, 1999), Family Crisis
Oriented Personal Evaluation Scales (F-COPES; Gouva, Dragioti, Konstanti,
Kotrotsiou & Koulouras, 2016) and a demographic questionnaire.
Statistical analyses showed that parents of children with learning difficulties experience
greater parenting stress along with social and behavioral problems compared to parents
of typically developing children in addition to a preliminary predictive model of
parenting stress based on children’s behavioral problems. Moreover, there were found
medium and strong correlations between behavioral and social problems and parenting
stress dimensions. On the other hand, there were found no significant differences
between parenting stress levels of women and men; no significant differences arose
from the comparison of reading and non-verbal disorders groups. Socioeconomical
status’s effect on parenting stress was also non-significant.
Further examination and discussion of the aforementioned findings along with
limitations and implications for practice are presented.