The moderating effect of parenting stress on temperament and social competence in early childhood


Current Psychology, vol.42, no.32, pp.27874-27887, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42 Issue: 32
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12144-022-03802-8
  • Journal Name: Current Psychology
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, BIOSIS, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.27874-27887
  • Keywords: Child temperament, Parenting stress, Social competence, Preschool children, Early childhood
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


The present study examined how temperament and parenting stress relate to social competence in early childhood, and more specifically how parenting stress moderates the relationship between temperament and social competence. Participants included 134 preschool children (76 boys), their parents, and their teachers. All participating children were enrolled in a public preschool and their ages ranged from 38 to 78 months (M = 62.52, SD = 8.58). They were mostly from households of low socioeconomic status. The mothers evaluated the temperamental characteristics of their children and parenting stress, while data on the social competence of the children were obtained from their teachers. According to the results of hierarchical regression analysis, reactive temperament was negatively correlated with children’s social competence. Parenting stress and social competence were also negatively correlated. Furthermore, parenting stress moderated the link between reactivity and children’s social competence. Accordingly, children with higher temperamental reactivity had lower scores for social competence when they were exposed to average or high levels of parenting stress. The findings were discussed within the context of the existing literature. Implications and suggestions were provided for practice and future research.