The role of parental acceptance and social support in the relationship between stress and competence

Susan Ann Reyland, Fordham University


The objective of this study was to assess the role of two primary protective factors, parental acceptance and social support, in the relationship between stress and competence. The sample for this study consisted of 165 adolescents 11-19 years of age recruited from the southern part of the Bronx and Queen boroughs of New York City and is representative of the disadvantaged minority youth in the public school system. Based on the existing psychological literature it was hypothesized that social support and parental acceptance function as protective factors, providing the child with the ability to successfully engage in stressful situations.^ This study utilized a quasi-experimental design which tested the mediation and moderation relationships between three independent variables: (1) stress, as measured by the Life Events Scale (Johnson and McCutcheon, 1980); (2) parental acceptance, as measured by the Parental Acceptance-Rejection Questionnaire (Rohner, 1984); and (3) social support, as measured by the Social Support Scale for Children and Adolescents (Harter, 1985) and the dependent variable, competence. Competence was measured in two ways: (1) by scores on the Personality Assessment Questionnaire (Rohner, 1984), which is designed to assess a child's perception of him/herself with respect to seven behavioral dispositions, and (2) through the participant's Standardized Reading and Math scores. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses was conducted to examine whether parental acceptance and social support moderate or mediate the strength and/or direction of the relationship between stress and competence.^ The results of this study showed that for high-stressed adolescents, perception of parental acceptance mediates the impact of stressful events on their psychological well-being, while perceptions of parental acceptance and support influence the impact of stressful events on academic achievement. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Psychology, Developmental|Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Recommended Citation

Reyland, Susan Ann, "The role of parental acceptance and social support in the relationship between stress and competence" (1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9816346.