Primary Health Care Research & Development

Research

Parenting self-efficacy, parenting stress and child behaviour before and after a parenting programme

Linda Bloomfielda1 c1 and Sally Kendalla2

a1 Research Fellow, Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK

a2 Director, Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK

Abstract

To explore whether changes in parenting self-efficacy after attending a parenting programme are related to changes in parenting stress and child behaviour.

Adverse parenting is a risk factor in the development of a range of health and behavioural problems in childhood and is predictive of poor adult outcomes. Strategies for supporting parents are recognised as an effective way to improve the health, well-being and development of children. Parenting is influenced by many factors including the behaviour and characteristics of the child, the health and psychological well-being of the parent and the contextual influences of stress and support. Parenting difficulties are a major source of stress for parents, and parenting self-efficacy has been shown to be an important buffer against parenting stress.

In all, 63 parents who had a child under the age of 10 years took part in the research. Of those, 58 returned completed measures of parenting self-efficacy, parenting stress and child behaviour at the start of a parenting programme and 37 at three-month follow-up.

Improvements in parenting self-efficacy and parenting stress were found at follow-up, but there was less evidence for improvements in child behaviour. The findings clearly suggest a relationship between parenting self-efficacy and parenting stress; parents who are feeling less efficacious experience higher levels of stress, whereas greater parenting self-efficacy is related to less stress. This study adds to the evidence that parent outcomes may be a more reliable measure of programme effectiveness than child outcomes at least in the short term.

(Received July 20 2011)

(Revised October 12 2011)

(Accepted January 31 2012)

Key words

  • child behaviour;
  • parenting programmes;
  • parenting self-efficacy;
  • parenting stress;
  • TOPSE

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence to: Linda Bloomfield, Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL10 9AB, UK. Email: l.j.bloomfield@herts.ac.uk

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