Maternal self-efficacy and child development: effectiveness of an early intervention and recovery-sensitive parenting program for substance-impacted families
This study investigated the effectiveness of the New Connections intervention program for substance-impacted children and their caregivers in promoting positive change in maternal self-efficacy and child development. Maternal self-efficacy was measured using the Maternal Self-Efficacy Scale (Teti & Gelfand, 1991). Archival data from the New Connections program offered demographic information, as well as measurements of child development, depression, and parenting stress. Child development was measured using the Denver Developmental Screening Test II (Frankenburg & Dodds, 1967). Depression was assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory-II (Beck, Steer, & Brown, 1996), and parenting stress was measured using the Parenting Stress Index (Abidin, 1995). Correlations and t tests were performed to test the relationships between participation in New Connections and improvements in child development, participation in New Connections and changes in maternal self-efficacy, and maternal depression and child development. The relationships between maternal depression and maternal self-efficacy and parenting stress and maternal self-efficacy were not explored, due to lack of significant change in maternal self-efficacy. Predictions were partially supported. Child participants at New Connections demonstrated increased developmental advances, in excess of those expected as a result of maturation alone, in language, personal-social, and gross motor skills. Expected developmental advances were not evident in fine motor skills. Contrary to predictions, maternal self-efficacy scores did not increase between weeks 1 and 1 0 of the program. Higher levels of maternal depression were not associated with lower rates of improvement in child development; however, positive change in maternal depression was associated with positive change in child development in youngest children. Theory, practice, and research implications were discussed.