Maternal confidence during toddlerhood: Comparing preterm and fullterm groups


  • Dr. Deborah Gross,

    Corresponding author
    • College of Nursing, Rush University, 1743 West Harrison St., Chicago, IL 60612
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    • Deborah Gross, DNSc, RN, is a practitioner/teacher at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in the Department of Psychiatric Nursing and an associate professor at Rush University, Chicago, Illinois.

  • Lorraine Rocissano,

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    • Lorraine Rocissano, PhD, is a research associate at Pace University, Lienhard School of Nursing, Pleasantville, New York, and a psychologist in private practice, Ossining, New York.

  • Marianne Roncoli

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    • Marianne Roncoli, PhD, RN, is the clinical director of obstetrics/neonatal nursing at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This research was conducted while Dr. Gross was on the faculty of Pace University, Lienhard School of Nursing.


The purposes of this study were to explore predictors of maternal confidence during toddlerhood among mothers of children born preterm and fullterm and to determine if mothers of toddlers born preterm were less confident in parenting than mothers of toddlers born fullterm. Mothers of children born preterm (n = 62) and fullterm (n = 70) aged 12 months through 36 months (postnatal age) completed a measure of maternal confidence during toddlerhood, the Toddler Care Questionnaire (TCQ), and a family background form. Major predictor variables included the extent of the mother's prior childcare experience, toddler birth order, and maternal report of toddler handicaps and major health problems. Data on neonatal condition were collected from hospital records. There was no difference in mean TCQ score between the preterm and fullterm groups. In the preterm group, prior childcare experience, birth order, and maternal report of the toddler having cerebral palsy explained 33% of the variance. In the fullterm group, prior childcare experience, maternal age and toddler's birthweight explained 38% of the variance. The findings are discussed in light of Bandura's theory of self-efficacy (1982).