Relations Among Self-Reported Maternal Stress, Smartphone Use, and Mother-Child Interactions
MetadataShow full item record
A growing body of research indicates that parents' smartphone use is associated with interruptions in parent-child interactions and lower levels of parental responsiveness, which may adversely affect children's cognitive and socioemotional development. Studies suggest that parent-child interactions are more frequently interrupted by the use of screen-based devices if parents experience more stress specifically resulting from the demands of parenting, yet there are unexamined questions. Is parents' general daily stress related to technology-based interruptions in parent-child interactions? If so, does parents' use of mobile technology mediate this relationship? In this first study testing the mediating role of parental use of mobile phones between parental stress and technology-based interruptions in parent-child interactions, we collected data from 604 mothers of children younger than age six with an online survey. Results showed that controlling for child age, family income, mothers' employment status, household size, and maternal and paternal education, more stressed mothers reported using their mobile phones more problematically (e.g., not being able to resist checking messages), which was linked to more frequent perceived interruptions in the interactions with their children. Our results suggest that using mobile phones may serve as an outlet for stressed parents and is related to disruptions in the flow of parent-child interactions.