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This randomized micro-trial aims at testing the relationship between mothers’ self-efficacy and children’s behavior in a quasi-experimental design. It assesses if mothers’ self-efficacy can be improved using the social learning theory processes of social comparison and positive feedback on parenting experience. In this theory-based experiment, mothers’ self-efficacy was manipulated in a convenience sample of 42 mothers and their 4–5 year-old preschoolers. Mothers’ and children’s behaviors were assessed during a 45-min mother–child interaction session with free-play, frustration and problem-solving tasks. Both observational and self-report measures were used. Results show that mothers who received a positive feedback to reinforce their self-efficacy had more positive parenting behaviors with their children than non-reinforced mothers in the control group. Children whose mothers had been reinforced in their self-efficacy were more positive with their mothers. This quasi-experimental micro-trial contributes to discuss the quite complex causal nature of the relation between parents’ self-efficacy, parenting and child behavior. First, its results confirm that mothers’ self-efficacy could be improved using the social learning theory processes of social comparison and positive feedback. Second, this study documents the positive impact of a positive feedback to mothers, on both mothers and children, contributing in this way to parenting research and intervention design.
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- Confident Mothers, Easier Children: A Quasi-experimental Manipulation of Mothers’ Self-efficacy
- Springer US