Academic journal article Family Relations

Examination of the Cross-Cultural and Cross-Language Equivalence of the Parenting Self-Agency Measure

Academic journal article Family Relations

Examination of the Cross-Cultural and Cross-Language Equivalence of the Parenting Self-Agency Measure

Article excerpt

This article describes the initial validation and evaluation of the cross-cultural and cross-language equivalence of the Parenting Self-Agency Measure (PSAM) with a sample of English speaking, middle-income, Anglo mothers (N = 90) and a sample of Spanish speaking, low-income, Mexican immigrant mothers (N = 94). The hypothesized relationships of the PSAM with measures of parents' personal coping strategies and parenting practices were largely confirmed. Results also supported the functional and scalar equivalence of the PSAM Applications of the PSAM for researchers and practitioners are presented.

EXAMINATION OF THE CROSS-CULTURAL AND CROSS-LANGUAGE EQUIVALENCE OF THE PARENTING SELF-AGENCY MEASURE*

Larry E. Dumka, Heather D. Stoerzinger, Kristina M. Jackson, and Mark W. Roosa" Over the past two decades, selfagency has become a prominent construct in social science research. Generally, self-agency refers to an individual's perceptions of his or her competence, effectiveness, and capacity to make things happen (Gecas, 1989). Self-agency perceptions have been linked to better mental and physical health (Gecas, 1989; O'Leary, 1985; Pearlin, 1983) and the initiation and maintenance of behavior change in a wide array of areas (e.g., smoking, eating, substance use, treatment regimes for illness, seatbelt use; Kelly, Zizanski, & Alemango, 1991; Marlatt & Gordon, 1985; Strecher, DeVellis, Becker, & Rosenstock; 1986). One domain in which self-agency may play a significant role is parenting. Parenting self-agency refers to parents' overall confidence in their ability to act successfully in the parental role. This includes parents' perceptions of their ability to manage their child's behavior and to resolve problems with their child.

Studies have shown parenting selfagency to be related to parents' coping styles and parenting practices. For example, low levels of parenting self-agency have been linked to a passive coping approach to parent-child interactions and to child maladjustment (Swick & Hassel, 1990; Wells-Parker, Miller, & Topping, 1990). Parenting self-agency also has been associated with parenting practices that contribute to positive outcomes for children. For example, Mash and Johnston (1983) found parents with high parenting self-agency to be more active and directive in a task situation with their children. Other studies have found high parenting self-agency (including beliefs about parents' impact on children's development) to be associated with democratic childrearing ideas (Emmerich, 1969), supportive childrearing attitudes and practices (Luster & Kain, 1987; Tulkin, 1977), and parenting practices that promote child achievement (Elder, Eccles, Ardelt, & Lord, 1995). Conversely, mothers who perceived that they had little control over negative child behavior tended to become easily irritated with their children, use coercive childrearing practices, and act abusively (Bugental, Blue, & Cruzcosa, 1989). Also, abusive mothers have reported lower levels of parenting self-agency than nonabusive mothers (Mash, Johnston, & Kovitz, 1983).

Results of recent studies suggest that the role of parenting self-agency may differ across socioeconomic and ethnic groups. For example, economic hardship seems to contribute to diminished parenting self-agency and less effective parenting practices (Conger & Elder, 1994; Elder et al., 1995; McLoyd, 1990). Moreover, in a study that compared economically stressed African American and European American parents, researchers found a direct link between economic hardship and lower parenting self-efficacy for African American mothers, whereas this relationship was mediated by depressed affect for European American mothers (Elder et al., 1995). In the same study, parenting selfefficacy was significantly related to parenting practices that promoted child achievement for African American mothers, but not for European American mothers. …

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