Mothers are often asked to use goal setting to help their children achieve optimal health. Before mothers can be successful, they must grasp the meaning and process of goal setting. Currently there is a glaring lack of published research regarding how goal setting is understood and experienced by mothers. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the self-described understanding and experiences of mothers, regarding goal setting for their preschool children. Narrative Inquiry was used to explore mothers' experiences with goal setting. A purposive sample of mothers with children in a Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program were recruited from the central Florida area. Data were obtained from demographic instruments and personal interviews using a semi-structured guide. Interviews were coded to ensure confidentiality, audio-recorded and transcribed. The narratives were analyzed for thematic emergence using content analyses techniques. Four major themes emerged: Parental Knowledge, Barriers, Process of Goal Setting, and Provider Involvement. Parental knowledge of goal setting was varied and unique; barriers of goal setting were focused on keeping children motivated and fear of failing; each participant used a different goal setting process and noted that provider involvement was limited at best. Data analysis revealed minimal effective communication between mothers and nursing providers about goal setting. As a result, mothers utilized unique goal setting processes for their children. Despite their varied understandings of goal setting and the goal setting process, these mothers were not stifled in their goal setting efforts. Educating nurses to communicate effectively with parents about goal setting with their children and addressing barriers they might face, is important. Incorporating goal setting into routine care can be an effective strategy to help patients attain health-related goals. Future research examining the perspective of goal setting from children and other caregivers and development of interventions to aid in goal attainment is needed.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Nursing
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Eckhoff, Dawn, "Understanding the Perceived Experiences of Goal Setting of Mothers of Preschool Children: A Narrative Analysis" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6172.
Restricted to the UCF community until December 2018; it will then be open access.