Motivation to improve parenting skills

Surveys / Assessments

Research on adults shows that motivation to change is a key factor predictor of program success. Motivational factors relating to caregiving include “a readiness to examine one’s own ‘parenting behaviors, attitudes toward the program, self-efficacy perceptions, and problem recognition’” (Chaffin et al., 2009). Lack of motivation can be a barrier to program participation and is associated with less favorable program outcomes (Prochaska & Levesque, 2002; Walitzer, Dermen, & Conners, 1999; Nock & Photos, 2006). In addition, less motivated parents are more likely to drop out of parent-education programs. Parents that are motivated to learn and improve their skills are more likely to use effective parenting approaches in the longer term or seek needed social supports and assistance. 

This indicator might be more important to track for parents who are required to participate in parent education as part of a larger program versus for parents who sign up specifically for the program.

Assessing parents’ willingness and motivation to change at the onset of the program is important to better understand how to engage parents. Programs that measure parent motivation can use the data to help determine or modify intervention and service delivery strategies. For example, programs with less motivated parents may seek to identify whether other issues are of more pressing concern and help them to address those concerns.  To track data on this outcome measure, programs should collect participant data at intake/enrollment; at 3, 6, or 12 months after point of enrollment; and at termination/exit.


Work Cited

Chaffin, M., Valle, L. A., Funderburk, B., Gurwitch, R., Silovsky, J., Bard, D., McCoy, C., & Kees, M. (2009). A motivational intervention can improve retention in PCIT for low-motivation child welfare clients. Child Maltreatment, 14(4), 356-368. DOI: 10.1177/1077559509332263 

Nock, M. & Photos, V., (2006). Parent Motivation to Participate in Treatment: Assessment and Prediction of Subsequent Participation. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 15 (3), 345-358.

Prochaska, J.O. & Levesque, D.A., (2002). Enhancing motivation of offenders at each stage of change and phase of therapy. In M. McMurran (Ed) Motivating offenders to change (pp. 57-74). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. 

Walizer, K.S., Dermen, K.H. & Connors, G.J. (1999). Strategies for preparing clients for treatment: A review. Behavior Modification, 23, 129-151.