Date of Award

Summer 2001

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Fox, Robert

Second Advisor

Campbell, Todd C.

Third Advisor

Melchert, Timothy P.


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between Stages of Change and mothers' performance in a psychoeducational parenting program for parents of young children. Previous research established the efficacy of a psycho educational parenting program to assist families in developing more appropriate parenting strategies. Concerns with subject retention were noted despite these statistically significant changes. The current study sought to apply the Stages of Change model to parenting and to identify the differential impact of parents' Stage of Change on their participation in the program. A diverse group of twenty-nine mothers of children ages one-to five-years old, participated in the study. Participants were placed in one of two groups (Low Readiness, High Readiness) based on their Stages of Change classification. For the purposes of the current study, Precontemplative and Contemplative parents were considered Low Readiness and Preparation, Action or Maintenance stage parents were considered High Readiness. Parents then completed the ten-session, manualized, psychoeducational parenting program with the goal of teaching parents to thoughtfully respond rather than emotionally react to their young children's challenging behavior. Results found that following participation in the program, parents reported decreases in their incidence of verbal and corporal punishment, decreases in levels of parenting stress, and decreases in their report of behavior problems with their focus child. Parents and facilitators also reported that parents were increasingly able to meet weekly program goals collaboratively developed to assist parents in applying session material to their children's challenging behavior. Parents' Stages of Change classification did not differentially affect these outcomes, although parents reported statistically significant increases in behaviors consistent with the Action stage from pretest to post-test. Limitations included the ambiguity associated with applying the Stages of Change model to parenting Oas minimal between-group differences were found. Suggestions for future research include applying the Stages of Change model to specific parenting behaviors.



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