Previous research documented the relationship between self-efficacy and perceived parenting competence. Further, previous evidence supported the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral consequences of early exposure to trauma. To build on these previously noted relationships, the present study examined the relationships among reflective functioning and attributions, self-efficacy, and perceived parenting competence, with self-efficacy serving as a mediating variable. Specifically, this study sought to focus on the cognitive variables associated with mothers' perceived self-efficacy and parenting competence and how those variables interact differently when early exposure to trauma is present. As part of this study, a national community sample of 126 culturally diverse mothers of young children who were between the ages of 1 1/2- to 5-years rated their own reflective functioning, attributions, self-efficacy, and perceived parenting competence as well as their young children's emotional and behavioral functioning. Correlational analyses showed significant relationships among the variables of interest. Further, mediation analyses indicated that, for the overall sample, mothers' self-efficacy mediated the relationship between both mothers' reflective functioning and attributions and perceived parenting competence. Interestingly, a varying relationship among reflective functioning was found among mothers with a trauma history in comparison to the total sample. Additionally, hierarchical regression analyses demonstrated that, for both samples, mothers' reflective functioning, attributions, self-efficacy, and perceived parenting competence collectively predicted young children's emotional and behavioral functioning. Lastly, through an auxiliary hypothesis, a curvilinear relationship was identified between mothers' perceived self-efficacy and parenting competence. Overall, this study contributed information regarding the importance of self-efficacy as a mechanism through which reflective functioning and attributions may potentially be related to perceived parenting competence. Accordingly, these findings suggested that mothers' perceptions about their own abilities may be a potentially important point of intervention.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Cunningham, Annelise, "Childhood Trauma, Reflective Functioning and Attributions, Self-Efficacy, and Perceived Parenting Competence: What Happens When the Traumatized Child Grows Up and Becomes a Mother?" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4997.