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Parental Self-Efficacy: Development of a Measure to Prevent Children's Environmental Contaminant Exposure

Jody S Nicholson, Lauren James.

Background: Indoor environmental contaminants (ECs) are prevalent and have dire consequences to children’s development, especially for children under six. To optimize the efficacy of programs aiming to prevent exposure to ECs, it is necessary to investigate parental factors that influence behavioral change. The current study presents a measure developed to assess parental self-efficacy for preventing children from being exposed to ECs, the Parental Self-efficacy for Contaminant Exposure Prevention (PS-CEP).
Method: The PS-CEP was administered to parents of children under six drawn from a low-income preschool (n=206) and an on-line polling website (n=377). An exploratory factor analysis was conducted, convergent and discriminant validity was assessed, and the relation of the measure to demographic and parenting characteristics were examined.
Results: Based on model fit indices, a four-factor model was the best fit. Factors represented confidence in prevention using cleaning, medical care, children’s physical environment, and meal time. All factors of the PS-CEP demonstrated good reliability and construct validity and were related to more optimal parenting characteristics.
Conclusion: A measure of this type will allow interventions to be tailored based on parents’ self-efficacy to more appropriately support them in taking steps to create healthier environments for their children.

Key words: parental self-efficacy, exploratory factor analysis, environmental contaminant exposure, prevention, child development

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