Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Robyn L. Brown

Second Advisor

Dr. Anthony R. Bardo


To date, research at the intersections of parenting, stress, gender, and mental health has yielded complicated and inconsistent results. The objective of this dissertation was to deepen our understanding of how parenting stress contributes to the mental health of both parents and their children, especially within the context of balancing work and family responsibilities. A three-study approach was used to assess differences by sex, gender role ideology, and household composition. Additionally, it explored the impact of parents’ characteristics on their children’s well-being in adulthood.

This project utilized secondary data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). Multivariate regression analyses revealed that gender role ideologies may partially explain sex differences in mental health and parenting stress. That is, differences in biological sex are not enough to explain the complex relationships that are the driving force behind these sex differences. Additionally, results showed that childhood circumstances do have a lasting impact in terms of parents’ characteristics. Notably, secondary caregivers’ mental health and parenting stress levels are linked with their children’s mental health in adulthood. This research makes important contributions to the existing literature on how parenting stress contributes to the mental of both parents and their children within the context of work-family balance.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Available for download on Monday, July 01, 2024