An Examination of Parental Self-Efficacy Among Mothers and Fathers

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Sevigny and Loutzenhiser, in their 2010 examination of parental self-efficacy (PSE) in fathers, did not identify data supporting the importance of self-efficacy beliefs in the paternal parenting role. However, a task-specific measure of PSE was used, and because the tasks mothers and fathers typically perform differ, task-specific measures may not be applicable to both mothers and fathers. The present study addressed this limitation by using a domain PSE measure (where specific tasks are not identified) in a sample of 49 mothers and 33 fathers of 3- to 5-year-old children. Parents also completed measures of constructs purported to be associated with PSE including: general self-efficacy (GSE), parenting behavior, affect, and child behavior problems. Results indicated that PSE was significantly and positively associated with, and predicted by, GSE for both mothers and fathers, suggesting one’s general sense of competence is important for both maternal and paternal PSE beliefs. Findings also indicated that maternal PSE was predicted by hostile or coercive parenting behaviors and child behavior problems, whereas supportive or engaged parenting behaviors emerged as the only other variable to predict paternal PSE. Results also suggested that previously used measurement strategies of paternal self-efficacy may have identified tasks more applicable to mothers than fathers.

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