Fatores de risco ao envolvimento materno com filhos pré-escolares : associações com estresse e burnout
Zanfelici, Tatiane Oliveira
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Healthy infant development greatly depends on the quality of interactions between the children and their primary caregivers. In its turn, based on Bronfrenbrenner´s bioecological model, parental involvement is affected by the responsibilities and relationships that parents must attend to in various spheres of their lives, which can contribute to the intensification or distancing of the parent-child relationship. As such, it is hypothesized that the parents jobs can have a positive or negative influence on their children s development, depending on the frequency with which job-related demands interfere with their family involvement, generating insatisfaction and stress. The effect of such problems should be even more intense when occupational stress is extreme and chronic, leading to burnout. In view of the importance of identifying factors that can affect the quality of parental involvement, the overall objective of this study was to examine the relationships that exist among stress, burnout and parental involvement among mothers whose children attend preschool. In total, 56 working mothers were interviewed, whose children (between three and five years old) attended a public daycare for at least half days. Using instruments previously tested in other studies, measures were made of the frequency of demands in the family and work spheres and of conflicts between these demands, of the adequacy of various practical resources (support provided by their husband and other relatives) and psychological resources (work satisfaction, perception of the adequacy of their family role performance) to help them deal with these demands, and of the results of the stress process on the well-being of the mothers (stress and burnout symptoms) and on their involvement with the target child. Mothers who reported spending a greater number of hours on domestic chores had higher stress and burnout scores and made lower evaluations of the frequency of their involvement with the target child. In addition, on days with a heavy workload, the respondents reported that they had less frequent positive parenting interactions with their child, such as playing and conversing. With respect to stress and burnout, the regression analyses indicated that mothers who said that work demands interfered with their family life had lower job satisfaction at the same time that the more the mothers could allow family tasks to reduce work performance (without losing their jobs), the greater their job satisfaction. The greater the mothers job satisfaction (fewer extra demands and more flexibility) the lower their stress. Reinforcing this, mothers whose job demands interfered more frequently with their family life had less positive perceptions of the adequacy of their parental role performance and presented symptoms of burnout with a higher frequency. These results provide information that contributes to a better understanding of a critical phase in the life of working women, while their children are young, pointing to a need for a widening of the social support network of workers with children in this age group, and for the review of policies and worker s rights, so as to reduce the stress and burden felt by working parents and to promote more positive parenting involvements in the lives of their children.