First-time parents’ personal growth: Role of parental separation anxiety

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The transition to parenthood is both a joyful and a stress-evoking event and thus may lead to the experience of personal growth. Parental separation anxiety is a potential source for stress, not yet examined in this context. The study aimed to examine new parents’ personal growth, exploring the contribution of parental separation anxiety, and to investigate the contribution of the personal resources of self-mastery and emotional intelligence. In a cross-sectional study, Israeli parents (n = 315) whose first child was up to 24 months old completed self-report questionnaires. Results show that higher personal growth was associated with greater separation anxiety among both parents, but more strongly among fathers. Higher personal growth was also associated with higher self-mastery for mothers, and lower emotional intelligence for both parents. The results indicate that parental separation anxiety is related to the personal growth of new parents, and highlight the importance of understanding the transition to parenthood as a differential experience for mothers and fathers. It is recommended that research among fathers be expanded, and that professionals discuss potential separation issues with new parents, and encourage their recognition of inner strengths to enhance their potential to experience personal growth in this demanding period in their lives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e2858-e2865
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number5
Early online date2022
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Health and Social Care in the Community published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • emotional intelligence
  • parents
  • personal growth
  • self-mastery
  • separation anxiety


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