Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 24, Issue 11, pp 3474–3481 | Cite as

Evaluation of the Parenting Sense of Competence Scale in Mothers of Infants

  • Sharon M. KarpEmail author
  • Melanie Lutenbacher
  • Kenneth A. Wallston
Original Paper


One of the most frequently used measures to assess parents’ assessment of their parenting ability is the Parenting Sense of Competence (PSOC) Scale. However, there is limited psychometric evaluation of the measure with samples of mothers of infants. This paper examines the psychometric properties of the PSOC in a heterogeneous sample of mothers of infants between the ages of 2 and 12 months of age. To capture a diverse sample, data were obtained from two studies of mothers of infants. All participants (n = 218) completed the 17-item PSOC at one time point during the postpartum period along with information about maternal age and education. Additional measures for the purpose of examining convergent validity assessed mothers’ self-esteem, depressive symptoms, and social support. The characteristics of the mothers differed significantly between the two subsamples except for their PSOC scores. Despite these differences, within each subsample the PSOC total and subscale scores were internally consistent and significantly, moderately correlated with the three psychosocial measures confirming the PSOC’s construct validity when administered to mothers of infants. Future studies should continue to evaluate the psychometric properties of the PSOC with varied samples of mothers as well as fathers.


Psychometric evaluation Parenting competence Mothers Infants 



Support for this work was provided by Grants from the BlueCross BlueShield Tennessee Health Foundation and the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Iota Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, and by the National Center for Research Resources, Grant UL1 RR024975-01, now at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Grant 2 UL1 TR000445-06. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon M. Karp
    • 1
    Email author
  • Melanie Lutenbacher
    • 2
  • Kenneth A. Wallston
    • 3
  1. 1.Schools of Nursing and Medicine (Pediatrics)Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Schools of Nursing and Medicine (Pediatrics)Vanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.School of NursingVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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