This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Burnout Among Parents of Infants: Associations with Parental Self-Care Practices, Infant Negative Emotionality, and Couple Satisfaction




Harvey, Tatum

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Human Development and Family Science

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



While the phenomenon of parental burnout has gained more attention in research and popular media in recent years, missing from the literature is an understanding of the associations between parental burnout and characteristics of the parent, child, and family social context, particularly among parents of infants. The current study addresses this gap by examining direct and indirect associations between parents’ (n = 128) engagement in self-care practices, parents’ perceptions of infant temperament, couple relationship satisfaction, and parental burnout. Meditation and moderation models were tested to determine how multiple factors within the family system may interact to explain parents’ risk of experiencing burnout. Findings revealed a strong, direct association between parents’ perceptions of infant negative emotionality and burnout. Moreover, parents who perceived their infants’ temperament as more negative reported engaging in more frequent self-care practices. This research provides needed information about the experiences of parental burnout in parents of infants, a previously understudied group. Implications for clinical intervention and future research are discussed.