Role of perceived social support in the relationship between parent temperament and distress tolerance

Alexandra E. Morford*, Neil Jordan, Heather J. Risser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate whether social support mediates the relationships between parent temperament and distress tolerance (DT) in mothers and fathers. Background: Distress tolerance is central to many of the factors identified as high-risk for parents perpetrating child maltreatment. To create effective parenting programs aimed at reducing child maltreatment, it is essential to understand the risk and protective factors associated with parental DT. Additionally, examining these factors in both mothers and fathers is important for determining whether mechanisms of risk and protective factors function similarly. Method: Using existing cross-sectional data, self-report assessments from 584 parents (67% female, Mage = 32.35 years) of children between the ages of 6 months and 10 years were analyzed using mediation analyses. Results: Perceived social support partially mediated the relationship between negative affect and distress tolerance, in the overall sample and in mothers only, but not for fathers only. Perceived social support was not a mediator of the relationship between effortful control and distress tolerance in any of the samples. Conclusion: Results suggest that negative affect and perception of social support play important roles in parents’ DT capabilities. Furthermore, the inconsistency across genders, suggests that risk and protective factors of DT may differ for mothers and fathers. Implications: Investigating risk factors of low parental DT is important for advancing knowledge about parents who may ultimately engage in child maltreatment to inform the design of prevention and early intervention parenting programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-582
Number of pages22
JournalFamily Relations
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • distress tolerance
  • effortful control
  • negative affect
  • parenting
  • social support
  • temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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