Skip to main content
Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2022 Abstracts

Parental stress, resilience, and executive function: An examination of correlations in Utah's preschool children

Presenters: Courtney Doman ; Riley Devey ; Brandon Maag
Authors: Courtney Doman, Riley Devey, Brandon Maag, Brionne Neilson
Faculty Advisor: Brionne Neilson
Institution: Southern Utah University

Our research question is: Is there a correlation between parental stress, resilience, and executive functioning among preschool children in Utah? Parent stress is defined as a negative sentiment override surrounding the obligations of parenting, which is influenced by child behavior, and socioeconomic factors. Resilience is the ability to overcome challenges, resist maladaptive behaviors, and it allows for personal and familial progression resulting in more resourceful individuals better prepared to meet future challenges. Linked with the prefrontal cortex, executive function (EF) includes skills such as working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control, and undergoes significant development during the early childhood years. While existing work has highlighted many relationships between pairs of these constructs (e.g., positive associations between child executive function and resilience and negative associations between parent stress and child executive function), studies including all three variables are limited. In an effort to address this gap, the current study, which is part of a larger project investigating developing skills among rural and urban Utah preschool children, aims to investigate relationships between parental stress, child resilience, and child executive function. The sample includes 118 preschool children (boys = 57) and their parents. Children were an average age of 52.65 months (SD = 6.32) at the beginning of the preschool year. Parental stress was measured using the Parenting Stress Index, 4th edition (PSI-4) Short Form, child resilience was measured using the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment for Preschoolers Second Edition (DECA-P2), and child executive function was measured using the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function - Preschool (BRIEF-P). All measures were gathered via parent self-report. We expect correlations between parental stress, resilience, and executive function, in preschool children in utah. These results will be discussed through the lens of family resilience and implications for future research and application to interventions will also be examined.