Date of Graduation


Document Type



A mother’s knowledge about parenting and child development is an important facilitator of effective parenting behavior. Research suggests that an infant’s healthy development is influenced by his or her mother’s parenting behaviors (Kenny, Bowen, & Starte, 2004). Although past research has established the relations between parenting knowledge and many maternal and infant characteristics, the importance of this topic necessitates further research. The current study was conducted to assess relations among mothers’ parenting and milestone knowledge, mothers’ sources of information about parenting and child development, mothers’ social support network density and satisfaction with the availability of their support networks, mothers’ parenting self-efficacy, and child development at two points during the infants’ first year. Data from 115 first-time mothers of 4- and 10-month-olds were collected via surveys. Twenty-five of those mothers also allowed their 10-month-old infants to be administered the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. In the current study, mothers of 4-month-olds had more accurate knowledge about milestones that were going to be achieved soon in their infant’s development and milestones that were currently occurring than they did about past development. Mothers of 10-month-olds had better knowledge of present and future development than they did about past development. Mothers had more accurate knowledge about milestones that happen nearer the age of their child than did mothers of other-age infants. Mothers with higher social support network density tended to use information sources more often to seek parenting and infant development knowledge than did mothers with low social support network density. Mothers in the current study used informal sources of information to seek knowledge about parenting and infant development to a greater extent than they used formal sources. Both mothers’ higher satisfaction with their social support networks and a higher density of their social support networks was predictive of better maternal self-efficacy. Findings from this study can be used to facilitate further research about mothers’ knowledge of upcoming milestones, the links between social support network density and self-efficacy, and the links between information sources mothers use for parenting knowledge and infant development. Findings are discussed in terms of informing interventions.