Impacts of Parental Burnout on Chinese Youth’s Mental Health: The Role of Parents’ Autonomy Support and Emotion Regulation

Beiming Yang, Bin Bin Chen, Yang Qu*, Yuanfei Zhu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Parental burnout is a state that parents experience overwhelming exhaustion in their parental role. Given the detrimental impacts of parents’ stress on adolescent development, youth may suffer from undesirable emotional adjustment due to parental burnout. Therefore, it is key to understand the underlying mechanisms through which parental burnout may play a role in youth’s mental health and identify protective factors that may reduce the potential negative impacts. Using a sample of 442 Chinese parent-adolescent dyads (Mean age of youth = 13.35 years; 50% girls), this two-wave longitudinal study examined how parental burnout contributes to youth’s mental health over the span of two months. Moreover, the current research investigated the potential mediating role of autonomy support and the potential moderating role of emotion regulation in the links between parental burnout and youth’s mental health. The results showed that greater parental burnout was predictive of youth’s greater depressive and anxiety symptoms two months later, and such effects were partially mediated by less autonomy-supportive parenting. Notably, the negative effects of parental burnout on autonomy-supportive parenting and youth’s mental health were not significant when parents used more cognitive reappraisal to regulate their emotions. These findings demonstrate the underlying mechanisms of how parental burnout affects youth’s mental health over time and highlight the protective role of healthy emotion regulation against parental burnout.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1679-1692
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Adolescents
  • Autonomy support
  • Emotion regulation
  • Mental health
  • Parental burnout

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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