In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey disrupted the lives of millions in the Houston/Galveston gulf coast region, causing injury, loss, and major uncertainty of wellbeing. Natural disasters can influence parent mental health and parenting behaviors, though less is known about how these factors might be associated with parenting accommodations provided to children immediately following a disaster. OBJECTIVE: This study examined parental anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS), as well as pre-existing parenting practices (i.e., positive parenting, supervision, discipline) as clinical predictors of parenting accommodations (PA) in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Parents of children ages 2–17 (n = 130) completed self-report measures approximately one month after Hurricane Harvey.
A three-step hierarchical multiple regression was conducted to predict PA from demographic variables (age, income, gender), parental levels of anxiety, depression, and PTSS, and parenting practices. Results indicated that families with lower income, higher rates of inconsistent discipline, and higher levels of parental anxiety reported engaging in greater PA following Hurricane Harvey.
Accommodations may be explained in the context of reactive parenting practices aimed at reducing child and parent distress following a natural disaster. Consistent routines, limit-setting, and other positive parenting practices may be important treatment targets to reduce parenting accommodations following a natural disaster.