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Behavioral Competence among Mothers of Infants in the First Year: The Mediational Role of Maternal Self-Efficacy

Douglas M. Teti and Donna M. Gelfand
Child Development
Vol. 62, No. 5 (Oct., 1991), pp. 918-929
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131143
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131143
Page Count: 12
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Behavioral Competence among Mothers of Infants in the First Year: The Mediational Role of Maternal Self-Efficacy
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Abstract

This study tests the idea that mothers' self-efficacy beliefs mediate the effects on parenting behavior of variables such as depression, perceptions of infant temperamental difficulty, and social-marital supports. Subjects were 48 clinically depressed and 38 nondepressed mothers observed in interaction with their 3-13-month-old infants (M = 7.35 months). As predicted, maternal self-efficacy beliefs related significantly to maternal behavioral competence independent of the effects of other variables. When the effects of self-efficacy were controlled, parenting competence no longer related significantly to social-marital supports or maternal depression. In addition, maternal self-efficacy correlated significantly with perceptions of infant difficulty after controlling for family demographic variables. These results suggest that maternal self-efficacy mediates relations between maternal competence and other psychosocial variables and may play a crucial role in determining parenting behavior and infant psychosocial risk.

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