Social Support and Parenting among Mothers Experiencing Homelessness

Cara M. Lucke, Angela J. Narayan, Amy R. Monn, Ann S. Masten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


SYNOPSIS: Objective. Effective parenting is among the strongest predictors of child resilience, but the stress and adversity associated with homelessness may undermine the capacity of caregivers to parent. To identify malleable factors that could foster resilience in parenting, this study investigated social support in relation to observed parenting in the context of homelessness. Design. Participants included 95 mothers (M age = 29.75, 64.2% African American) and their 4- to 6-year-old children (55.8% male) residing in shelters for families experiencing homelessness. Mothers completed questionnaires, and trained raters coded video recordings of structured parent–child interactions for effective parenting. Results. Mothers reported “fairly high” satisfaction with support and average support network size of two individuals. Mothers reported more satisfaction when support came from family members and lower stress when support came from a co-parent. Neither satisfaction with support or support network size was significantly associated with effective parenting, and neither showed stress-buffering effects on parenting. Verbal capability was the most salient predictor of effective parenting. Conclusions. Mothers in emergency shelter reported satisfaction with social support despite a small network size. Support from family and their co-parent were important for satisfaction and perceived stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-285
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 17 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Homelessness
  • Parenting
  • Resilience
  • Social Support
  • Stress


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