Parental Self-Efficacy in Early Years Parenting

  • Hannah Dowling

Student thesis: Doctor of Clinical Psychology


This thesis focuses on parental self-efficacy in early years parenting. Parenting has a key influence on child development. Self-efficacy mediates the relationship between knowledge and behaviour and as such is seen as an important target of many interventions aimed at parents. Paper 1 provides a comprehensive overview of the impact of group-based early interventions on parental self-efficacy in parents of preschool children. Fifteen randomised controlled trials were identified that satisfied the inclusion criteria for the review. The strengths and limitations of the reviewed papers are considered alongside the clinical implications of the findings. Recommendations for future areas of research are provided. Paper 2 provides an exploratory investigation of whether structured parent-infant activities improve parental self-efficacy, bonding, mood and well-being. Six hundred and sixty two parents of infants under 12 months completed a series of questionnaires at two time-points. Whilst such activities did not lead to significant improvements in parental self-efficacy, some support for the notion that such activities improve parental satisfaction in a non-clinical population, and mood and parental anxiety in mildly anxious parents was found. The clinical implications of the study and areas of future research are discussed. Paper 3 provides a critical reflection of the research process as a whole and examines the strengths and limitations of Papers 1 and 2 in turn. Personal reflections on the development and execution of the research are also provided.
Date of Award31 Dec 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAnja Wittkowski (Supervisor)

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