Changes in parental sense of competence and attitudes in low -income Head Start parents as a result of participation in a parent education workshop

Martha Maria Mendez-Baldwin, Fordham University


This study was designed to examine the effectiveness of a Parent Education Workshop in enhancing parenting attitudes and parenting sense of competence. This study also explored the roles of parental perception of child behavior problems and family social support in influencing the effects of the parenting intervention. The participants consisted of 22 parents of 3 and 4 year old children attending a Head Start Program at the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center in the Bronx. The participants attended a 3 session parenting workshop that addressed parent-child communication, positive discipline, and normal child development. Participants completed several measures that assessed their parenting attitudes, parenting sense of competence, parental perception of child's behavior problems, and family social support at four testing times (pretest 1, pretest 2, post-test 1, and post-test 2). Using a baseline control design, the participants served as their own control group. Fidelity assessment indicated that there was strong adherence to the curriculum. In addition, participants were very satisfied with the workshop. Comparison of pre and post test scores revealed significant improvements in parenting attitudes and parenting sense of competence after completion of the parenting workshop. These improvements remained persistent, at the four week follow-up period. Pearson correlations revealed that parental perception of child's behavior was significantly correlated with parenting attitudes and parenting sense of competence. Analysis of regressed change revealed that initial family social support was significantly correlated with change in parenting attitudes but not with change in parenting sense of competence. Parents with more social support at the start of the study experienced more change in parenting attitudes than parents with lower levels of family social support. Furthermore, the results indicate that family social support improved after participating in the parenting workshop but changes were not observable until the follow-up period. The results suggest that parent education is an effective intervention that results in improvement in parenting attitudes, sense of competence, and family social support. Few studies have studied parenting and the effects of parent education in low-income Black and Hispanic parents. The results of this study are valuable because they demonstrate that this population is very receptive to parenting interventions and that these interventions are effective in enhancing their parenting attitudes and sense of competence.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Adult education|Continuing education|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Mendez-Baldwin, Martha Maria, "Changes in parental sense of competence and attitudes in low -income Head Start parents as a result of participation in a parent education workshop" (2001). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3017557.