Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Degree Granting Department
Psychological and Social Foundations
Julia Ogg, Ph.D.
Shannon Suldo, Ph.D.
Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.
Parent involvement, Parenting practices, Empathy, Self-Regulation, Social Competence, SEARS
Strengths-based assessment is providing an alternative to the typical way that psychologists approach mental health in the literature. Social-emotional strengths are multidimensional, positive indicators of mental health that include Social Competence, Self-Regulation, Empathy, and Responsibility. Limited research has been conducted to examine the potential connection between parental involvement in children’s education, specifically in the areas of supporting a child’s learning at home, parental involvement within educational settings, and parenting practices (discipline, Monitoring, use of Praise and Incentives) in connection with social-emotional strengths. With an emphasis on prevention of mental health problems, parents are an important and potentially untapped resource for school-based interventions to promote social-emotional strengths. Multiple informants in strengths-based assessment has also received limited attention in the research, therefore potential differences in parent and teacher ratings of social-emotional strengths were explored.
The relationships between parenting variables and social-emotional strengths were examined. The sample included 166 kindergarten children. Teacher ratings of children’s strengths were available for all 166 of these children. Parent ratings of children’s strengths were available for a subset (n = 122) of these 166 children. Participants were from both the U.S. and Canada. Measures used to assess parenting variables included the Parent Involvement Project Questionnaire-Modified, the Fast Track Project Parent-Teacher Involvement Questionnaire, the Parent Practices Interview, Parental Support for Learning Scale, Trust Scale from the Family-School Relationship Survey, and the Social-Emotional Assets and Resilience Scale (SEARS)-Parent, and the SEARS-Teacher short form. All together, parenting variables explained 37% of the variance in Self-Regulation/Responsibility, 29% of the variance in Social Competence, 29% of the variance in Empathy, 37% of the variance in Total Social-Emotional Strengths as rated by parents, and 20% of the variance in Total Strengths as rated by teachers. In terms of individual predictors of the parent-rated strengths sample, Positive Verbal Discipline and gender (female status) were significant positive predictors of Self-Regulation/Responsibility. This indicated that the higher the use of Positive Verbal Discipline, the higher the levels of Self-Regulation/Responsibility. Supportive Parent Involvement, Positive Verbal Discipline, and gender (female status) significantly predicted Social Competence, also in a positive direction. This demonstrated that the higher the level of Supportive Parent Involvement and Positive Verbal Discipline, the higher the level of Social Competence. Parent perception of his/her Time and Energy, Praise and Incentives, and the child’s gender (female status) positively predicted Empathy; Monitoring negatively predicted Empathy. For Time and Energy and Praise and Incentives, this indicated that the higher the level of these parenting variables, the more positively Empathy was rated by parents. Monitoring moved in the opposite direction of Empathy; as Monitoring increased, Empathy decreased. Positive Verbal Discipline and gender (female status) predicted Total Strengths rated by parents in a positive direction; as Positive Verbal Discipline increased, so did Total Parent-Rated Strengths. For teacher ratings of strengths, Trust of the child’s teacher and gender (female status) predicted Total Strengths in a positive direction. This indicated that as Trust of the child’s teacher increased, so did the level of teacher-rated Total Social-Emotional Strengths. Female status was consistently associated with more positive ratings of the social-emotional domains and Total Social-Emotional Strengths. Teachers and parents had moderate levels of association (r = .48) in rating of kindergarten students’ Total Social-Emotional Strengths. In summary, all parenting variables were predictive or associated with social-emotional outcomes except for Appropriate Discipline, and Monitoring had a negative relationship with parent-rated Empathy. Socioeconomic status was also not found to be significantly predictive or associated with social-emotional domains. Parenting practices such as Positive Verbal Discipline and gender were particularly predictive of social-emotional domains. Implications for research and practice are outlined.
Scholar Commons Citation
Larosa, Kayla Nicole, "Parent Predictors of Social-Emotional Strengths in Kindergartners" (2015). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.