Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Katherine H. Karraker.


Appreciation for cognitive factors associated with parental competence and child outcomes has expanded dramatically in developmental research over the past several years. Parental self-efficacy beliefs, in particular, have emerged as both a salient direct predictor of positive parenting practices and as a mediator of the effects of several of the most thoroughly researched correlates of parenting quality including maternal depression, child temperament, and social support. Parental self-efficacy beliefs embody an estimation of the degree to which parents perceive themselves as capable of performing the varied tasks associated with this demanding role.;The objectives of this study were threefold and entailed the following: (a) examination of parenting self-efficacy beliefs as predictors of overt measures of competence in the parenting of toddlers, (b) extension of the parenting self-efficacy research beyond indexes of parental competence to assess self-efficacy beliefs as possible predictors of specific indexes of toddlers' behavior and development, and (c) investigation of the degree to which maternal self-efficacy beliefs mediate the effects of toddler temperament and maternal variables on measures of parenting competence, parenting satisfaction, and parenting stress.;Forty-two predominantly middle-class mother-toddler pairs residing in a rural southeastern city participated in this study. Mothers completed a number of questionnaires, toddlers were administered the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, and each dyad participated in the Crowell Procedure, which is a laboratory technique developed to observe parent and toddler behaviors in a semi-structured context.;Counter to expectations, both domain-specific and domain-general self-efficacy beliefs failed to significantly predict parenting competence and various child behaviors observed during the Crowell Procedure. However, using Baron and Kenny's (1986) recommended mediation techniques, evidence for domain-specific self-efficacy beliefs operating as a mediator between toddler temperament and both parenting stress and parenting satisfaction was revealed. Implications of the findings are discussed and suggestions for future research are provided.