Ethnic Differences in Home-Related Maternal Stress: Muslim and Jewish Mothers

Saadi Diana, Tirosh Emanuel, Agay-Shay Keren, Schnell Izhak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Parental stresses are normal responses to raising children. They are affected by stresses parents and children accumulate and bring to their interrelations. Background factors like economic difficulties or the relations between the parents may affect parental stresses as well as demographic and environmental factors like noise and access to urban parks. Most studies on parental stress are based on a verified psychological questionnaire. We suggest using frequency domain heart rate variability index (HRV) to measure parental stress enabling, by thus, the measurement of physiological aspects of stress and risk to health. Parental stress is measured as the difference between HRV accumulated at home while staying with the children and without the husband and HRV measured in the neighborhood while staying without the children and the husband. We use the index to compare differences among Muslim and Jewish mothers in exposure to maternal stress at their homes and to expose the factors that predict differences in maternal stress. We found that Muslim mothers suffer from home-related maternal stress while Jewish mother do not. Number of children and ethnically related environmental aspects predict differences in maternal stress between Muslim and Jewish mothers. Muslims' lower access to parks stems from lack of home garden and parks in their neighborhoods in the Arab towns but mainly by restrictions on Muslim mothers' freedom of movement to parks. Despite differences in levels of noise at home and in the status of the mother in the household, these factors did not predict differences in maternal stress. Instead, the study highlights the crucial role of greenery and freedom of movement to parks in moderating home-related maternal stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4393
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number22
StatePublished - 10 Nov 2019


FundersFunder number
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Open University
Tel Aviv University
Ministry of Science and Technology, Israel
Faculty of Exact Sciences, Bar-llan University


    • Adult
    • Child
    • Environment
    • Female
    • Heart Rate
    • Humans
    • Islam/psychology
    • Jews/psychology
    • Male
    • Mothers/psychology
    • Noise
    • Residence Characteristics
    • Socioeconomic Factors
    • Stress, Psychological/ethnology
    • Surveys and Questionnaires


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