Parenting stress and life satisfaction in families of children with disabilities: the mediating effect of social support in three Arab speaking countries

Mahmoud Mohamed Emam*, Maha Al-Hendawi, Dalia Gaafar Ali

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Parents of children with disabilities (PCWD) need to be provided with resources to empower them with the knowledge and skills needed to reduce their parenting stress and enhance their life satisfaction. This study aimed to examine the mediating effect of social support in the relationship between parenting stress and parents’ satisfaction with life (SWL) across samples from three Arab countries (N = 867: Oman = 420, Saudi Arabia = 350, Qatar = 260). Our findings revealed that PCWD experienced high levels of parenting stress, especially in Oman and Qatar. In addition, parents who experienced high levels of parenting stress were likely to perceive less social support. Mediational analysis for the entire sample indicated that significant others, family and friends mediated significantly the relationship of both parental distress (PD) and parent–child dysfunctional interaction (PCDI) with parents’ satisfaction with life. Additionally, family and friends mediated significantly the difficult child (DC) association with parents’ satisfaction with life (SWL). In the multi-group path analyses, all chi-square tests examining differences in each pathway coefficient between countries were significant (except for the path coefficient between significant others and satisfaction with life (SWL)), demonstrating that the strength of the pathways varied between countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-152
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Family Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • children with disabilities
  • life satisfaction
  • parenting stress
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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