Assessing Social Support and Nativity as Modifiers of the Effect of Parenting Stress on Obesity in Hispanic Mothers Open Access

Ruths, Abigail (Spring 2020)

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Psychological stress has often but inconsistently been shown to be a risk factor for increased adiposity. Mothers, especially those who lack social support systems, may be under considerable stress, which may in turn affect their likelihood of developing obesity. Additionally, Hispanic mothers may face unique challenges that cause further stress and affect their likelihood of developing obesity. The present study utilized log-binomial regression to assess the relationship between parenting stress and obesity while separately considering social support measures and nativity as potential effect modifiers, controlling for other potential confounders.

An inverse but not statistically significant relationship was found between parenting stress and maternal obesity (PR1-unit increase in parenting stress = 0.90, 95% CI = 0.81, 1.01). None of the four types of social support examined nor nativity were shown to be significant modifiers of the relationship between parenting stress and obesity. 

This study highlights the complexity and inconsistently predictable relationship between psychological stress and obesity in specific populations—in this case, Hispanic mothers. Further investigations should closely examine the complex roles Hispanic mothers' social networks play in their parenting responsibilities, including how the immigration experience may disrupt social networks, and whether strong social support networks reduce parenting stress that may contribute to other health problems like increased adiposity.

Table of Contents

Manuscript -- 1

Abstract -- 1

Introduction -- 2

Methods -- 5

Results -- 11

Discussion -- 13

References -- 18

Tables -- 22

Appendices -- 28

Additional Analysis Tables -- 28

Social Support composite measure construction -- 31

Literature Review -- 32

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