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Keywords:

  • focus groups;
  • health visiting;
  • instrument development;
  • Likert scales;
  • parenting programmes;
  • self-efficacy

Aims.  This paper reports the development of a tool to measure parenting self-efficacy as an aid to evaluating parenting programmes.

Background.  Whilst there has been increasing interest in parenting programmes from parents, government and professionals, there is a lack of rigorous evaluation studies of their effectiveness, particularly their longer-term outcomes. Equally, there is little research evidence of the views and experiences of parents themselves. It is important to develop robust outcome measures which draw on well-developed theoretical constructs to measure parents’ perceived abilities to manage their children based on their own views and experiences. Self-efficacy, a self-perception of one's ability to perform competently and effectively in a particular task or setting, may provide such a framework.

Methods.  Data from 12 focus groups conducted with parents and parenting programme facilitators informed the development of the tool. A thematic analysis of the focus group transcripts identified key items to be included in the self-efficacy instrument, and these were developed into 82 Likert-format statements. A multi-method approach was used to test the instrument for validity and reliability.

Findings.  Nine domain specific sub-scales of parenting were identified from the analysis of the focus group data. Internal reliability coefficients for the subscales ranged from 0·80 to 0·89, and the overall scale reliability was 0·94. External reliability coefficients ranged from rs = 0·58 (n = 19, P < 0·01) to rs = 0·88 (n = 19, P < 0·01).

Conclusion.  A valid and reliable tool to measure parenting self-efficacy has been developed, which will aid evaluation of parenting programmes.