Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 17, Issue 8, pp 1452-1458

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

UpStart Parent Survey: A New Psychometrically Valid Tool for the Evaluation of Prevention-focused Parenting Programs

  • Karen BenziesAffiliated withFaculty of Nursing, University of Calgary Email author 
  • , Dawn ClarkeAffiliated withDepartment of Child and Youth Studies, Mount Royal University
  • , Leslie BarkerAffiliated withProvincial Early Childhood Team, Alberta Health Services
  • , Richelle MychasiukAffiliated withFaculty of Nursing, University of Calgary


Parents are the most significant influence on the growth and development of young children. All parents can increase their knowledge of developmental milestones and parenting practices by participating in effective programs that offer information and support. However, there is limited outcome evaluation of programs offering these services. Prevention-focused parenting programs (P-FPPs) are key frontline services designed to educate parents and improve the overall well-being of children. Evaluation of these programs is currently weak; this is not to say they are ineffective, rather that their effectiveness has been poorly evaluated. Rigorous evaluation of P-FPPs would support informed funding and evidence-based policy decisions. The purpose of this study was to conduct a preliminary psychometric analysis of the UpStart Parent Survey (USPS)—a tool developed specifically for evaluating this type of program. Preliminary analysis revealed uni-dimensionality of each scale, strong internal consistency and temporal stability, as well as strong concurrent validity on 9 of the 11 items examined with an urban Canadian population. In its first round of psychometric evaluation, the USPS demonstrated promise as a brief, easy to administer, scientifically rigorous tool for the evaluation of prevention-focused parenting programs.


Measurement Child development Intervention Parenting