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Child Dev. 1991 Oct;62(5):918-29.

Behavioral competence among mothers of infants in the first year: the mediational role of maternal self-efficacy.

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Department of Psychology, University of Maryland Baltimore County 21228.


This study tests the idea that mothers' self-efficacy beliefs mediate the effects on parenting behavior of variables such as depression, perceptions of infant temperamental difficulty, and social-marital supports. Subjects were 48 clinically depressed and 38 nondepressed mothers observed in interaction with their 3-13-month-old infants (M = 7.35 months). As predicted, maternal self-efficacy beliefs related significantly to maternal behavioral competence independent of the effects of other variables. When the effects of self-efficacy were controlled, parenting competence no longer related significantly to social-marital supports or maternal depression. In addition, maternal self-efficacy correlated significantly with perceptions of infant difficulty after controlling for family demographic variables. These results suggest that maternal self-efficacy mediates relations between maternal competence and other psychosocial variables and may play a crucial role in determining parenting behavior and infant psychosocial risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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