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Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2009 Jul;79(3):336-47. doi: 10.1037/a0016732.

Parenting, parental mental health, and child functioning in families residing in supportive housing.

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Department of Family Social Science & Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.


Long-term homelessness is associated with other psychosocial risk factors (e.g., adult mental illness, substance abuse, and exposure to violence). All of these factors are associated with impairments in parenting effectiveness and child adjustment, but there are very limited data investigating parenting among families who are homeless and highly mobile. In particular, there is no literature examining the relationships among observed parenting, parental mental health, and child adjustment in a supportive housing sample. Data are reported from a multimethod study of 200 children in 127 families residing in supportive housing agencies in a large metro area. Observed parenting and parents' mental health symptoms directly affected children's adjustment. The influence of parenting self-efficacy on children's adjustment was mediated through its impact on observed parenting. However, observed parenting did not mediate the relationship between parental mental health and child adjustment. Implications for research and practice with homeless populations are offered.

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