Parental role perceptions: Instrument development

Varnell, Gayle
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The purpose of this study was to develop a reliable and valid instrument to measure perceptions of parental roles in expectant couples and to test four specific hypotheses related to parental roles. Using a theoretical framework that combined Roy's (1984) Adaptation Model with role theory from a symbolic interactionist perspective, the theoretical framework was formalized using Gibbs' (1972) model of theory construction. The word "parentization" was coined by the researcher to describe the specific socialization process related to the acquisition of parental role.

A review of the literature provided a theoretical framework for this study and the development of the Parental Roles Questionnaire. Four components of the variable concept, parental role, were identified and became the subscales for the instrument. Content validity was established in the pilot study.

An availability sampling procedure was used in this descriptive, comparative, and correlational study. The sample was comprised of 242 expectant couples.

The Parental Roles Questionnaire contained 12 items that addressed perceptions of parental roles of the respondent and 12 items that addressed their spouse's perceptions of parental roles. Three items addressed each of the four subscales of mothering behaviors, fathering behaviors, incorporating of norms, and childhood background. The Parental Roles Questionnaire also included 19 demographic questions. Reliability was established using Cronbach coefficient alpha. The Parental Roles Questionnaire had a Cronbach coefficient alpha of.5979 for the Maternal Parental Roles Questionnaire (MPRQ),.7099 for the Maternal Spouse Parental Roles Questionnaire (MSPRQ),.7043 for the Paternal Parental Roles Questionnaire (PPRQ), and.6978 for the Paternal Spouse Parental Roles Questionnaire (PSPRQ). Factor analysis confirmed the four factors identified from the review of the literature.

This study is the beginning of the conceptualization of parentization. More studies are needed to support these dimensions. This study has added to the body of knowledge about parental roles and the development of a theory of parentization.

The development of a parental roles questionnaire has demonstrated that parental roles is a measurable quantity and that varying levels of parental roles are perceived by individual couples. This instrument provides direction for further research on parental roles.

Parental roles, Expectant couples, Perceptions, Theory of parentization