Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Rex L. Forehand


BACKGROUND: The primary aim of the current study was to create a new measure of parenting practices, constituted by items from already established measures in order to advance the measurement of parenting practices in clinical and research settings. The current study utilized five stages designed to select only the best parenting items, establish a factor structure consisting of positive and negative dimensions of parenting, meaningfully consider child developmental stage, ensure strong psychometric properties, and provide initial evidence for the validity of the final measure.

METHODS: A total of 1,790 parents (44% fathers) were recruited online through Amazon's Mechanical Turk for three cohorts: Stages 1 (N = 611), 2 (N = 615), and 3 (N = 564). Each sample was equally divided by child developmental stage: Young childhood (3 to 7 years old), middle childhood (8 to 12 years old), and adolescence (13 to 17 years old). Parenting items were selected and adapted from several well-established parenting scales. Measure development followed five rigorous stages using separate samples for each set of factor analyses as advocated by methodologists. Advanced statistical methods were employed for determining final factor structure (e.g., exploratory structural equation modeling - ESEM) and reliability (omega coefficient; longitudinal ESEM), as well as providing initial support for validity (e.g., latent curve modeling - LCM).

RESULTS: Through a five-stage empirical approach, the Multidimensional Assessment of Parenting Scale (MAPS) was developed, successfully achieving all aims. The MAPS factor structure included both positive and negative dimensions of warmth/hostility and behavioral control that were appropriate for parents of children across the developmental span. Seven out of eight MAPS subscales demonstrated excellent reliability (above .80). LCM analyses provided initial support for the validity of all MAPS subscales.

DISCUSSION: Although the stages of the current study embody an empirical approach to scale development, it also has important theoretical aspects. The factor structure of the MAPS updates prior the theoretical conceptualization of parenting practices (Schaefer, 1959) in order to inform new research and applications. Future directions are discussed.



Number of Pages

130 p.

Included in

Psychology Commons