Impact of Poverty on Parent–Child Relationships, Parental Stress, and Parenting Practices

Laurie Long Kwan Ho, William Ho Cheung Li, Ankie Tan Cheung, Yuanhui Luo, Wei Xia, Joyce Oi Kwan Chung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Objectives: To explore the impact of poverty on parent–child relationships, parental stress and parenting practices. Design: A mixed methods study. Sample: Four hundred and eighty five Hong Kong Chinese parents who had children aged 3-6 years, and who were from low-income families. Eleven of these parents were randomly selected for individual semi-structured interviews. Measurements: A sociodemographic questionnaire, the parent–child relationship score, the Parental Stress Scale and the Perceived Parental Aggression Scale. Results: The parents were found to have an impaired relationship with their children. The findings indicated that employment status, parental stress and harsh parenting were significantly associated with parent–child relationships. The qualitative findings revealed that parents from low-income families encountered a wide range of difficulties, which made these parents more likely to experience parental stress, thereby increasing their tendency to adopt harsh parenting practices that undermined parent–child relationships. Conclusion: This study sheds light on the associations between parent–child relationships, parental stress and parenting practices in low-income families. These findings will enhance nurses' understanding of the impact of poverty on parent–child relationships, and highlight the need for nurses to ensure that underprivileged parents and their children receive adequate primary care to prevent the development of psychological problems in this vulnerable group.

Original languageEnglish
Article number849408
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2022


  • harsh parenting
  • nurse
  • parental stress
  • parenting practices
  • parent–child relationship
  • poverty
  • preschool children
  • primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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