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Keywords

congenital heart disease, externalizing problems, moderated mediation, parenting stress

 

Authors

  1. Chang, Ling-Yin PhD
  2. Wang, Chia-Ching MD
  3. Weng, Wen-Chin MD, PhD
  4. Chiu, Shuenn-Nan MD, PhD
  5. Chang, Hsing-Yi DrPH

Abstract

Background: Cyanotic congenital heart disease (CHD) has detrimental effects on behavioral function in children and adolescents. However, few study authors have examined the underlying mechanisms of these effects.

 

Objective: The aims of this study were to investigate the mediating effects of parenting stress in the association between cyanotic CHD and externalizing problems and to explore whether age moderated these mediating effects.

 

Methods: A total of 697 children and adolescents (aged 2-17 years) with CHD (252 with cyanotic CHD and 445 with acyanotic CHD) in Taiwan were enrolled. The Child Behavior Checklist and the Parenting Stress Index were used to assess externalizing problems and parenting stress, respectively. Mediation analysis was performed to determine the mediating effects of parenting stress in the association between cyanotic CHD and externalizing problems. A moderated mediation model was used to investigate the moderating effect of age on the observed mediating effects.

 

Results: Parenting stress significantly mediated the relationship between cyanotic CHD and externalizing problems (unstandardized coefficient B = 0.98; 95% bootstrap confidence interval, 0.23-1.78). Children's age further moderated the mediating effects, with greater effects in older children. Age also moderated the association between cyanotic CHD and parenting stress, such that the effects were only significant in children older than 5.7 years.

 

Conclusions: Our study revealed that age affected the mediating effects of parenting stress in the relationship between cyanotic CHD and externalizing problems. Efforts to reduce externalizing problems in children and adolescents with cyanotic CHD by targeting parenting stress may be more effective when age differences are considered.