Date of Award

Spring 4-11-2017

Document Type

Distinction Paper

Degree Name





Dr. Denise Hatter-Fisher

First Committee Member

Dr. Meredith Meyer

Second Committee Member

Dr. Jonathan DeCoster


Stress, Maternal, Children, Maternal Stress, child stress

Subject Categories

Biological Psychology | Child Psychology | Health Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


With stress being referred to as the “health epidemic of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization, questions arise about not only how this epidemic affects adults, but also how stress may affect today’s children. Research indicates that stress impacting parents trickle down to children, and the effects can be palpable. In this study the author examined maternal stress as well as stress related symptoms and illnesses in their children. Participants are mothers of children age’s five to ten. The protocol included completion of a four part online survey addressing demographic information, perceived stress, and recent stressful life events. Also, stress-related illness in the children was assessed using an instrument developed by the investigator. Results indicated that: 1) Maternal stress is positively correlated with a number of stressful events occurring within the last 12 months; and 2) High maternal perceived stress is positively correlated with frequency of stress symptomatology or a stress related illness in their offspring.