Parental self-efficacy and its measurement – an evaluation of a parental self-efficacy measurement scale

Authors

  • Edward Purssell BSc, MSc, PhD, RGN, RSCN,

    Senior Lecturer, Corresponding author
    • King's College London, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, London, UK
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  • Alison While BSc, MSc, PhD, RN, RHV

    Professor of Community Nursing
    1. King's College London, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, London, UK
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Correspondence: Edward Purssell, Senior Lecturer, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King's College London, James Clerk Maxwell Building, 57 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8WA, UK. Telephone: +44 020 7848 3021.

E-mail: edward.purssell@kcl.ac.uk

Abstract

Aims and objectives

To field test a parental self-efficacy scale regarding its acceptability and feasibility and to describe parental self-efficacy in a convenience sample of parents with children aged 6 years old or less.

Background

Self-care within families is increasingly emphasised in health policy as a means of maximising healthcare resources. This study reports the field testing of a scale designed to measure parental self-efficacy.

Design

Cross-sectional survey of parents of children aged 6 years old or less.

Methods

Subjects were recruited through a parenting internet website (n = 84) and local parenting and community organisations (n = 68) and asked to complete a questionnaire containing the scale. Data collection took place between January and August 2011.

Results

The scale, previously validated with an expert panel of professionals, gathered information about parental self-efficacy when administered either directly or through an on-line data collection portal, although there were more missing data when administered via the Internet. Although convenience and self-selecting samples precluded parameter estimation, areas of concern highlighted were difficulties differentiating children with serious illnesses and the use of the Personal Child Health Record. Use of the Internet was widespread, as was use of community pharmacists and nursery staff.

Conclusion

Although the primary purpose was not to collect specific data, the data indicated the continuing concern of parents regarding serious illness and where additional investment may be required to meet parental needs and expectations.

Relevance to clinical practice

The previously validated scale can be used to collect information about parental self-efficacy either through a paper questionnaire or the Internet. Although there was slightly more missing data from the Internet version, the ease of its administration makes this an attractive option. Parents generally reported high levels of self-efficacy and satisfaction with services; however, the scale was able to identify areas where further investment might be useful.

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