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Three reasons why parental burnout is more prevalent in individualistic countries: a mediation study in 36 countries

Roskam, I., Aguiar, J., Akgun, E., Arena, A. F., Arikan, G., Aunola, K., ... & Mikolajczak, M. (2024). Three reasons why parental burnout is more prevalent in individualistic countries: a mediation study in 36 countries. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 59(4), 681-694.


Abstract

Purpose: The prevalence of parental burnout, a condition that has severe consequences for both parents and children, varies dramatically across countries and is highest in Western countries characterized by high individualism.

Method: In this study, we examined the mediators of the relationship between individualism measured at the country level and parental burnout measured at the individual level in 36 countries (16,059 parents).

Results: The results revealed three mediating mechanisms, that is, self-discrepancies between socially prescribed and actual parental selves, high agency and self-directed socialization goals, and low parental task sharing, by which individualism leads to an increased risk of burnout among parents.

Conclusion: The results confirm that the three mediators under consideration are all involved, and that mediation was higher for self-discrepancies between socially prescribed and actual parental selves, then parental task sharing, and lastly self-directed socialization goals. The results provide some important indications of how to prevent parental burnout at the societal level in Western countries.


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