All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Robin G Lanzi

Advisory Committee Members

Jennifer Burke-Lefever

Susan L Davies

Kristi C Guest

Connie L Kohler

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Public Health


The Social Ecological Model (SEM) allows for examining human behavior and the factors that influence behavior change in totality. In addition, the model offers guidance in identifying the factors that may lead to a change in or explanation of behavior. This study utilizes SEM to identify factors at the personal, interpersonal, and community level in order to determine the relationship between specific ecological factors and parenting self-efficacy. Furthermore, the study examines the predictive quality of the ecological factors on parenting self-efficacy. Data collected from the Parenting for the First-time Project (PFT) was used. PFT is a multi-site longitudinal study of the transition to parenting with a focus on mothers at risk for child neglect was used. Six hundred and eighty four pregnant mothers were recruited from primary care facilities. Women were recruited from three groups: adolescent (under the age of 19, n=389), adult low resource (older than 21 years and less than 2 years of college, n=168), and adult high resource (older than 21 years and more than 2 years of college, n=127). The study sample ranged in age from 14 to 36 years and 65% were African American, 19% were White/ non-Hispanic, and 16% were Hispanic, Asian, and Multi-racial. The relationship status of the mothers was single (61.7%), with partner (21.6%), married (16.1%), separated (.3%), divorced (.1%), and widowed (.1%). Parenting self-efficacy was measured using items developed for the project and added to the Pearlin Mastery Scale. In order to test if parenting self-efficacy can be predicted by specific ecological factors, a cross-validation multiple regression was completed and a prediction equation was computed. To test the cross-validation, a t-test was conducted with the predicted PSE and the observed PSE. The results of the study suggest that the ecological factors of maternal age, knowledge of infant development, depression, parental stress, social support relationships, and community support can predict PSE. The cross-validation substantiates the predictive quality of the ecological factors; no difference was found between the predicted parenting self-efficacy and the observed parenting self-efficacy.

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