The Maternal Self-efficacy Scale for Preventing Early Childhood Diarrhea: Validity and Reliability


Correspondence to:

Monica O. B. Oria, Nursing Department, Federal University of Ceara. Rua Alexandre Baraúna, 1115, Zip Code 60430-160, Fortaleza-CE, Brazil. E-mails:;



This study aimed to develop and validate a psychometric scale for preventing early childhood diarrhea in endemic areas.

Design and Sample

Before applying to the field, the scale was subjected to content validity by a panel of experts and piloting. The final version was applied to 448 mothers of children 0- to 5-year-olds, living in Fortaleza, northeast Brazil. Structured interviews were conducted to identify diarrheal episodes in the study children.


Significant negative correlations were found between higher maternal self-efficacy scores and previous childhood diarrhea (p = .001). In addition, positive correlations were found with maternal age (p = .018). The frequency of children (6–36 months old) with diarrhea was significantly lower when scale scores were higher (p = .015). The predictive validity revealed that high levels of maternal self-efficacy were a protective factor against childhood diarrhea. Cronbachs alpha was .84.


The scale was found reliable. Cultural adjustments may be needed to extrapolate the scale to other endemic areas worldwide.