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Parental Self-Efficacy in Low-Income, Ethnically Diverse Mothers Open Access

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Low-income, ethnically diverse mothers face acute and chronic stress, putting them at risk for experiencing parenting difficulties and psychological symptoms (Nam, Wikoff, & Sherraden, 2015). Parental self-efficacy has been identified as a potential buffer against parenting distress and linked to positive family outcomes, yet little is known about how factors theoretically and empirically linked to this construct might work together within the same model (Coleman & Karraker, 1997; Ponomartchouk & Bouchard, 2015). Guided by social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1977), this study examined parent-specific factors (remembered maternal warmth, social support, depressive symptoms, and parental stress) as predictors of parental self-efficacy in a sample of 96 low-income, ethnically diverse (predominantly African American/Black) mothers of children aged 2-11 years. As hypothesized, controlling for child-specific factors (gender and behavior) and parents' cohabitation status, hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated significant associations between remembered maternal warmth and parental self-efficacy as well as parental stress and parental self-efficacy; however, contrary to prediction, social support and depressive symptoms were not significantly related to parental self-efficacy. In addition, results demonstrated that parental stress fully mediated the relationship between depression and parental self-efficacy. Contrary to hypothesis, social support did not significantly moderate the association between remembered maternal warmth and parental self-efficacy. Implications of study findings for further research and intervention targeting low-income families are discussed.

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