This exploratory study examined the role of satisfaction with support from family and friends on the burden and stress of parents of infants with a congenital anomaly (CA). The effects of social support were examined within the couple (actor and partner effects). A total of 36 couples whose six-month-old infant has a CA participated in this study. The parents completed questionnaires regarding satisfaction with support, burden (Impact on Family Scale - Revised), and parenting stress (Parenting Stress Index). The results showed that fathers directly benefited from the support they received from friends in reducing their burden, while mothers only indirectly benefited from it through the father's adjustment. The pattern was different for stress: mothers directly benefited from the support they received from their family in reducing their stress levels, while fathers benefited both directly from the support they received from friends and indirectly from the support that their partners received from family. These results highlight that (1) the different support needs of mothers and fathers (due to their different roles during transition to parenthood) and (2) the diffusion of benefits of social support within the couple should be taken into account when developing strategies to promote support to families of six-month-old infants with a CA.
- Actor-partner effects
- Parenting stress
- Parents of infants with a congenital anomaly
- Social support