Refugee caregivers: Associations between psychosocial wellbeing and parenting in Uganda

Melissa Meinhart, Patrick Onyango Mangen, Sabrina Hermosilla, Flora Cohen, Gary Samuel Agaba, Rehema Kajungu, Justin Knox, Grace Obalim, Lindsay Stark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Caregivers in humanitarian settings experience compounding stressors that may challenge their ability to provide quality parenting to children in their care. In recognition of this precarity, our analysis examines the linkage between psychosocial wellbeing and parenting behaviours among caregivers in Kiryandongo Settlement, Uganda. Using baseline data from an evaluation of a psychosocial intervention designed to support caregiver wellbeing and engage caregivers to support children in their communities, multi-variable ordinary least square regressions were used to estimate how various measures of psychosocial wellbeing (i.e. psychological distress, social support, and functioning) and parenting attitudes (related to violence against children) are associated with parental warmth and rejection. Profound livelihood challenges were found, as nearly half of the sample (48.20%) indicated cash from INGOs as their income source and/or reported never attending school (46.71%). Increased social support (coef. 0.11; 95% CIs: 0.08–0.15) and positive attitudes (coef. 0.21; 95% CIs: 0.14–0.29) were significantly associated with more desirable parental warmth/affection. Similarly, positive attitudes (coef. 0.16; 95% CIs 0.11–0.20), reduced distress (coef. 0.11; 95% CIs: 0.08–0.14) and increased functioning (coef. 0.03; 95% CIs: 0.01–0.04) were significantly associated with more desirable scores of parental undifferentiated rejection. While further research is needed to examine underlining mechanisms and causal pathways, our findings both link individual wellbeing characteristics with parenting behaviours and suggest further exploration into whether and how broader elements of the ecosystem may influence parenting outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1014-1025
Number of pages12
JournalStress and Health
Issue number5
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • caregiving
  • humanitarian
  • mental health and wellbeing
  • parenting
  • refugee

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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