The relationship between parents’ self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, child behaviour, and management of atopic dermatitis

Mitchell, Amy Elizabeth (2011) The relationship between parents’ self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, child behaviour, and management of atopic dermatitis. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin condition, characterized by intense pruritis, with a complex aetiology comprising multiple genetic and environmental factors. It is a common chronic health problem among children, and along with other allergic conditions, is increasing in prevalence within Australia and in many countries worldwide. Successful management of childhood AD poses a significant and ongoing challenge to parents of affected children. Episodic and unpredictable, AD can have profound effects on children’s physical and psychosocial wellbeing and quality of life, and that of their caregivers and families. Where concurrent child behavioural problems and parenting difficulties exist, parents may have particular difficulty achieving adequate and consistent performance of the routine management tasks that promote the child’s health and wellbeing. Despite frequent reports of behaviour problems in children with AD, past research has neglected the importance of child behaviour to parenting confidence and competence with treatment. Parents of children with AD are also at risk of experiencing depression, anxiety, parenting stress, and parenting difficulties. Although these factors have been associated with difficulty in managing other childhood chronic health conditions, the nature of these relationships in the context of child AD management has not been reported. This study therefore examined relationships between child, parent, and family variables, and parents’ management of child AD and difficult child behaviour, using social cognitive and self-efficacy theory as a guiding framework. The study was conducted in three phases. It employed a quantitative, cross-sectional study design, accessing a community sample of 120 parents of children with AD, and a sample of 64 child-parent dyads recruited from a metropolitan paediatric tertiary referral centre. In Phase One, instruments designed to measure parents’ self-reported performance of AD management tasks (Parents’ Eczema Management Scale – PEMS) and parents’ outcome expectations of task performance (Parents’ Outcome Expectations of Eczema Management Scale – POEEMS) were adapted from the Parental Self-Efficacy with Eczema Care Index (PASECI). In Phase Two, these instruments were used to examine relationships between child, parent, and family variables, and parents’ self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and self-reported performance of AD management tasks. Relationships between child, parent, and family variables, parents’ self-efficacy for managing problem behaviours, and reported parenting practices, were also examined. This latter focus was explored further in Phase Three, in which relationships between observed child and parent behaviour, and parent-reported self-efficacy for managing both child AD and problem behaviours, were explored. Phase One demonstrated the reliability of both PEMS and POEEMS, and confirmed that PASECI was reliable and valid with modification as detailed. Factor analyses revealed two-factor structures for PEMS and PASECI alike, with both scales containing factors related to performing routine management tasks, and managing the child’s symptoms and behaviour. Factor analysis was also applied to POEEMS resulting in a three-factor structure. Factors relating to independent management of AD by the parent, involving healthcare professionals in management, and involving the child in management of AD were found. Parents’ self-efficacy and outcome expectations had a significant influence on self-reported task performance. In Phase Two, relationships emerged between parents’ self-efficacy and self-reported performance of AD management tasks, and AD severity, child behaviour difficulties, parent depression and stress, conflict over parenting issues, and parents’ relationship satisfaction. Using multiple linear regressions, significant proportions of variation in parents’ self-efficacy and self-reported performance of AD management tasks were explained by child behaviour difficulties and parents’ formal education, and self-efficacy emerged as a likely mediator for the relationships between both child behaviour and parents’ education, and performance of AD management tasks. Relationships were also found between parents’ self-efficacy for managing difficult child behaviour and use of dysfunctional parenting strategies, and child behaviour difficulties, parents’ depression and stress, conflict over parenting issues, and relationship satisfaction. While significant proportions of variation in self-efficacy for managing child behaviour were explained by both child behaviour and family income, family income was the only variable to explain a significant proportion of variation in parent-reported use of dysfunctional parenting strategies. Greater use of dysfunctional parenting strategies (both lax and authoritarian parenting) was associated with more severe AD. Parents reporting lower self-efficacy for managing AD also reported lower self-efficacy for managing difficult child behaviour; likewise, less successful self-reported performance of AD management tasks was associated with greater use of dysfunctional parenting strategies. When child and parent behaviour was directly observed in Phase Three, more aversive child behaviour was associated with lower self-efficacy, less positive outcome expectations, and poorer self-reported performance of AD management tasks by parents. Importantly, there were strong positive relationships between these variables (self-efficacy, outcome expectations, and self-reported task performance) and parents’ observed competence when providing treatment to their child. Less competent performance was also associated with greater parent-reported child behaviour difficulties, parent depression and stress, parenting conflict, and relationship dissatisfaction. Overall, this study revealed the importance of child behaviour to parents’ confidence and practices in the contexts of child AD and child behaviour management. Parents of children with concurrent AD and behavioural problems are at particular risk of having low self-efficacy for managing their child’s AD and difficult behaviour. Children with more severe AD are also at higher risk of behaviour problems, and thus represent a high-risk group of children whose parents may struggle to manage the disease successfully. As one of the first studies to examine the role and correlates of parents’ self-efficacy in child AD management, this study identified a number of potentially modifiable factors that can be targeted to enhance parents’ self-efficacy, and improve parent management of child AD. In particular, interventions should focus on child behaviour and parenting issues to support parents caring for children with AD and improve child health outcomes. In future, findings from this research will assist healthcare teams to identify parents most in need of support and intervention, and inform the development and testing of targeted multidisciplinary strategies to support parents caring for children with AD.

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ID Code: 47319
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Yates, Patricia & Ramsbotham, Joanne
Keywords: child behaviour, child psychology, chronic disease management, cross-sectional studies, dermatitis, atopic, eczema, health behaviour, outcome expectations, parenting, questionnaires, self-efficacy, self-efficacy theory, social cognitive theory
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 29 Nov 2011 02:22
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2011 02:22

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