Fatigue and Physical Activity: Potential Modifiable Contributors to Parenting Sense of Competence

June 18, 2019

Photo of a woman next to a baby's crib. She is holding her hand to her forehead, has her eyes closed, and looks tired.The stereotype of the tired parent of young children exists for a reason. Fatigue is a familiar feeling to anyone who has parented an infant or toddler. But are fatigue and physical activity levels linked to parents’ sense of competence? A team of investigators at the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Public Health investigated. The results appear in a new article published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies.

 

Parenting sense of competence—defined as levels of satisfaction and self-efficacy experienced by parents—has previously been linked to a host of parenting characteristics predictive of child outcomes. While existing approaches to parenting education focus on improving parenting sense of competence by developing parenting knowledge and skills, researchers believe that other modifiable contributing factors to parenting sense of competence may exist.

 

The UK investigators examined associations among fatigue, physical activity, and parenting sense of competence in a sample of female primary caregivers of young children recruited from a pediatric primary care clinic. The sample of 137 female primary caregivers, with a mean age of 32 and predominantly of non-Hispanic white ethnicity, each completed a Parenting Sense of Competence Scale (PSCS) survey instrument. Multiple linear regression analyses of the data revealed significant independent associations of fatigue and physical activity level with parenting sense of competence—controlling for child disruptive behaviors, child age, and socioeconomic status.

 

The authors conclude that in this non-clinical sample of mothers of young children, the significant relationships among fatigue, physical activity level, and parenting sense of competence could suggest potential targets for preventive intervention.

 

Dr. Christina Studts, associate professor of Health, Behavior & Society, is the first and corresponding author of “Fatigue and Physical Activity: Potential Modifiable Contributors to Parenting Sense of Competence”, published in the article published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies. Co-authors are Ms. Megan Pilar (alumna of the Master of Public Health Program at the UK College of Public Health, currently a doctoral student at Washington Univ. in St. Louis), Ms. Julie Jacobs (project director in the Department of Health, Behavior & Society), and Ms. Brigid Fitzgerald (alumna of the Master of Public Health Program at the UK College of Public Health, currently working in global health in Nigeria). 

 


 

The University of Kentucky College of Public Health is a catalyst of positive change for population health, with a mission to develop health champions, conduct multidisciplinary and applied research, and collaborate with partners to improve health in Kentucky and beyond.