Parental Satisfaction: The Effects of Perceived Parental Self Efficacy, Care-Giving Role and Child Age
Hamill, N. R., Fleming, M. J., (University of Canberra) &
Neill, J. T. (University of New Hampshire).
Research into parental satisfaction has found no predictors that can be determined with assurance. Conflicting research abounds in areas such as parent gender and partner status in relation to parental satisfaction. This study was designed to examine the effect of parental self-efficacy, care-giving role, child age, parent gender, employment status, education level and partner status on parental satisfaction in an Australian setting. The confirmation of factors common to perceived parental self-efficacy was also investigated. Two hundred and ten parents with a mean age of 35 years completed a questionnaire measuring their perceived parental self-efficacy, education and demographic variables.
A multiple regression analysis revealed three significant predictors of parental satisfaction: parental self-efficacy, and child age and care-giving role were negative predictors. Parent gender, employment status, education level and partner status failed to achieve significance in the regression model. A factor analysis revealed two factors for perceived parental self-efficacy, which were providing discipline and routine for a child, and providing nurturance and support. As this is the first study investigating the impact of care-giving role on parental satisfaction, further research needs to be conducted to confirm this and the findings for the effect of parental self-efficacy and child age.
- This is the first step in looking at some predictors of parental satisfaction in an Australian setting.
- The bulk of the literature has been directed towards demographic factors such as parent gender, partner status, education, employment status and age of the child that affect satisfaction (Goetting, 1986).
- The hypotheses of the study were: that parent gender, employment status and partner status would have no effect on parental satisfaction; that level of education, child age and care-giving role would have a negative relationship with parental
- satisfaction; and that parental self-efficacy and parental satisfaction would be positively correlated.
- Parental satisfaction is defined as a parent’s attitude toward their child/children, or their relationship with their child/children (Sabatellli & Waldron, 1995).
- Parental self-efficacy is defined as a parent’s perceived abilities to positively influence his/her child’s behaviour & development (Coleman & Karraker, 2001).
Pearson’s Intercorrelations for Parental Satisfaction Predictors & Indicators
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Gender (female) -- -.43*** -.07 -.07 .16* .32*** .08 .07
2. Employ Status (f/t) -- .12* .11 -.01 -.05*** -.09 .03
3. Edu Level (degree) -- .15* -.04 -.06 -.12 .03
4. Partner Stat (partner) -- -.25*** -.21* .02 .16*
5. Child Age -- -.04 -.03 -.25***
6. C-G Role (primary) -- .05 -.13*
7. Parental S-E -- .47***
8. Parental Satisfaction --
* p<.05. ** p<.01. *** p<.001 (one tailed)
- The participants were 210 parents (37% males, 63% females) from the Canberra region with children aged 12 or under, aged between 19 and 55years.
- Participants were recruited through cluster sampling, convenience sampling and a snowball sample.
- Participants were given a demographic questionnaire, a 40-item domain-specific parental self-efficacy questionnaire, a 15- item parental satisfaction questionnaire (adapted from the Cleminshaw-Guidubaldi Parent Satisfaction Scale (Guidubaldi & Cleminshaw, 1985) and the Satisfaction section from the Parenting Sense of Competence Scale developed by Gibaud- Wallston & Wandersman (cited in Johnston & Mash, 1989), and two open-ended questions relating to the participant’s overall satisfaction with his/her parenting, and if there was anything about the individual’s parenting situation that may affect his/her parenting skills or satisfaction.
Summary of Hierarchical Regression Analysis for Predictors of Total Satisfaction (n=210)
Variable B SE B Beta R2 ΔR2
Gender (female) .05 .05 .05
Employment Status (f/t) .05 .08 -.05
Education Level (degree) .02 .07 .02
Partner Status (partnered) .08 .10 .06
Child Age -.04 .01 -.23**
Care-Giving Role (primary) -.17 .09 -.16* .09** .09**
Gender (female) .03 .07 .03
Employment Status (f/t) -.02 .07 -.02
Educational Level (degree) .07 .06 .07
Partner Status (partnered) .06 .08 .04
Child Age -.04 .01 -.22***
Care-Giving Role (primary) -.17 .08 -.16*
Parental S-E .38 .05 .48*** .31*** .22***
* p<.05. **p<.01*** p<.001.
- Of the participants surveyed, 13% of males & 45% of females reported being primary care-givers. 28% of males & 2% of females reported being secondary care-givers. 59% of males & 53% of females reported sharing their care-giving duties. The number of children ranged from 1 - 8 (Mean = 1.96), age range from 6 months - 12 yrs (Mean = 5.1yrs).
- The total self-efficacy scale had a range of 1 - 7, with a mean of 5.29 (DS = .64). The total satisfaction scale had a range of 1-5, with a mean of 4.29 (SD= .5).
- In a hierarchical regression analysis the measures of gender, employment status, education, partner status, child age, and care-giving role explained a significant 9% of the variance. Child age and care-giving role were the only predictors that achieved significance.
- In the second step, the addition of parental self-efficacy added an additional and significant 22% to the explained variance. Parental self-efficacy had the highest ranking standardised beta weight of .48, whilst child age was -.22, and care-giving role was -.16.
- The results found three significant predictors of parental satisfaction. The strongest predictor was parental self-efficacy, with higher levels of self-efficacy leading to higher levels of satisfaction. The next predictor, which was negative, was child age, indicating that parental satisfaction is higher when children are younger. The final significant predictor, also negative, was care-giving role. This showed that primary care-givers are less satisfied than secondary and shared care-givers.
- Research has suggested that parental self-efficacy can be increased through completing targeted parenting programmes. If this is the case, and parental self-efficacy is proven to be a predictor of parental satisfaction, then it may be possible to increase parental satisfaction by increasing parental self-efficacy.
- The effect of a person’s care-giving role with relation to his or her child has not been previously investigated, apart from a study conducted in the US (Veroff, Douvan & Kulka, 1981) reporting single fathers (who were assumed to primarily be secondary care-givers) as being most satisfied.
- Coleman, P.K., & Karraker, K.H. (2001). Maternal self-efficacy beliefs, competence in parenting, and toddlers’ behaviour and developmental status. Manuscript submitted for publication.
- Goetting, A. (1986). Parental satisfaction: A review of research. Journal of Family Issues, 7, 83-109.
- Guidubaldi, J., & Cleminshaw, H.K. (1985). The development of the Cleminshaw-Guidabaldi parent satisfaction scale. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 14, 293-298.
- Johnston, C., & Mash, E.J. (1989). A measure of parenting satisfaction and efficacy. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 18, 167-175.
- Sabatelli, R.M., & Waldron, R.J. (1995). Measurement issues in the assessment of the experiences of parenthood. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 969-980.
- Veroff, J., Douvan, E., & Kulka, R.A. (1981). The inner American: A self-portrait from 1957 to 1976. New York: Basic Books.