Parental Burnout in Lebanon
Responsive image

Nour Yaktine
· 10 min read

Lebanese researchers evaluate parental burnout in Lebanon as well as the factors that contribute to it

Parental burnout is defined as a state of intense exhaustion related to one’s parental role, which makes the person feel emotionally detached from their child while doubting their ability to act as a good parent (Roskam et al., 2017). Parental burnout differs from parental stress and refers to chronic parental stress. It is a construct that can be measured through the following four dimensions: Emotional and physical exhaustion; emotional distancing from children; feeling fed up; and contrast with previous parental self. Emotional and physical exhaustion refers to the exhaustion that can be experienced as a result of parenting; emotional distancing from children relates to a feeling of emotional disengagement towards one’s children; feeling fed up is when parents do not feel the desire to adhere to their parenting role; and finally a contrast with previous parental self is when parents feel as if they have changed and do not recognize themselves anymore (Mikolajczak et al., 2018; Roskam et al., 2017). According to various studies conducted measuring parental burnout based on these four dimensions, the prevalence of parental burnout was found to range between 8% and 36%. Indeed, there are several factors and stressors that can affects parents and can contribute to burnout. These can range from everyday tasks and requirements such as preparing meals and driving children to school, to more complex stressors such as societal expectations, time-management issues, work-family balance, among others.

The Parental Burnout Assessment is a 23-item scale that has been shown to be a valid and reliable tool for measuring parental burnout. This tool is widely used to measure parental burnout on an international level. In November 2020, a group of researchers were interested in evaluating parental burnout in Lebanon, by culturally adapting the Parental Burnout Assessment (Roskam et al., 2017). In their study, Gannagé and her team collected information on 200 Lebanese parents, of which 134 (67%) were mothers and 66 (33%) were fathers. On average, the parents interviewed were 37 years old, with the youngest parent in the study being 20 years old and the oldest being 55 years old. Parents were recruited from six different areas in Lebanon: 20% from Beirut, 45% from Mount Lebanon, 10% from North Lebanon, 10% from South Lebanon, 7.5% in Nabatieh and 7.5% from the Beqaa. Most of the parents who participated in the study (93.5%) identified as two-parent families, meaning that they were raising their children with a partner who is not the biological parent of the child. Finally, participants reported having between 1 to 6 children.

According to the results, the prevalence of burnout did not statistically differ between mothers and fathers, meaning that mothers were as likely to experience burnout as fathers. With an overall prevalence of 6,5%, 7.5% of mothers were found to display parental burnout compared to 4.5% of fathers. Contrary to what was expected, being a working parent did not seem to contribute to burnout, and working parents seemed to be as likely to experience burnout as non-working parents. This reinforces the idea that parents in Lebanon share an equal responsibility towards their children, and that parenting tasks are divided equally between mothers and fathers rather than depending on gender roles. Indeed, nowadays in Lebanon, more and more mothers are engaged in professional activities, and more and more fathers are actively involved in parenting duties.

Interestingly, results showed that mothers with a lower level of education were more likely to display higher parental burnout compared to mothers with a university diploma. This can be explained by the fact that mothers with a higher level of education are more likely to be working mothers with better work opportunities, thus fewer financial constraints and less parenting stress. Fathers, on the other hand, were more likely to experience burnout as the number of hours spent with children increases. More so, single parents were found to experience higher parental burnout compared to two-parent families. These findings confirm Lebert-Charron et al. (2018)’s study showing that single mothers report higher parental burnout due to having more responsibilities and less support.

Responsive image

Parenting can be challenging and stressful. This can be especially true for working and/or single parents. When these stressors become overwhelming, they can lead to parental burnout, which can have detrimental effects on parents and their children. Studies have shown that parents who experience burnout are more likely to experience marital conflict, have an unhealthy sleeping pattern, be depressed and have suicidal ideations. Parents who experience burnout are also more likely to unintentionally neglect their children, such as by sleeping on the couch while their child is unsupervised, and are more likely to yell or insult their child as a result of feeling angry and overwhelmed.

So, how can parents overcome and even prevent parental burnout? Fortunately, healthcare providers have come up with a list of tips and behaviors that parents can adopt when they experience burnout symptoms. According to an article published on WebMD, parents can start by communicating their feelings with their partner and ask for support. Parents who experience exhaustion are encouraged to maintain a healthy and balanced diet rather than reaching out for coffee and/or sugary snacks, which is only a momentary solution that eventually leads to a crash. Instead, parents are encouraged to consume a mix of protein, whole grains, fiber and carbohydrates. For example, fruits and vegetables constitute a good example of healthy snacks. Exercise, on the other hand, can help reduce stress and depression.

Most importantly, parents should refrain from feeling guilty for experiencing burnout. Instead, they should remember that burnout is more common than they think and that this does not make them less of a good parent. Instead of feeling guilty, parents should focus on ways to overcome what they are feeling, such as by taking some time for themselves for self-care, asking for help from a sitter and setting realistic expectations instead of trying to adhere to idealistic societal expectations. If you are a parent and you are unsure of your symptoms, you can fill the Parental Burnout Assessment attached below. It is available in English and in Arabic. A score that is higher than 76 would likely indicate that you are experiencing parental burnout. Stay connected with your feelings and learn what coping strategies best work for you.


  PBA - Algerian Arabic

  PBA - English


Gannagé, M., Besson, E., Harfouche, J., Roskam, I., & Mikolajczak, M. (2020). Parental burnout in Lebanon: Validation psychometric properties of the Lebanese Arabic version of the Parental Burnout Assessment. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, (174), 51-65.

Lebert-Charron, A., Dorard, G., Boujut, E., & Wendland. (2018). Maternal Burnout Syndrome: Contextual and Psychological Associated Factors. Frontiers in Psychology, 9.

Mikolajczak, M., Brianda, M. E., Avalosse, H., & Roskam, I. (2018). Conequences of parental burnout : Its specific effect on child neglect and violence. Child Abuse & Neglect, 80, 134-145.

Roskam, I., Raes, M.-E., & Mikolajczak, M. (2017). Exhausted Parents: Development and Preliminary Validation of the Parental Burnout Inventory. Frontiers in Psychology, 8.