Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Science
Parental optimism may be an important parenting characteristic that inﬂuences the parenting process, along with other parent, child and social characteristics. Optimism has generated a great deal of research in social psychology, but has remained relatively unstudied in the context of parenting. Parental optimism is distinguished from personal optimism in the sense that it is the speciﬁc tendency for parents to be positive about their child’s future development. In the present study, 35 families completed a series of questionnaires concerning their 8-year-old, ﬁrst-born child (17 males and 18 females). Measures included the Parent Expectations Index (the measure of parental optimism), a Child Social Adjustment Measure, a Parental Inﬂuence Measure, the Life Orientation Test and the Parenting Sense of Competence Scale. Parental optimism was found to be distinct from dispositional optimism, but signiﬁcantly related to parental reports of positive child behaviour for both mothers and fathers. Higher feelings of parental optimism were positively correlated with higher perceptions of efﬁcacy and inﬂuence for both mothers and fathers as well. Mothers of 8-year-old children from the present study and mothers of older adolescents drawn from another sample, the Futures Study (children ages l9-20) did not signiﬁcantly differ in their parent optimism scores. In the present sample (parents of 8-year-old children), mothers were signiﬁcantly more optimistic than fathers and they also felt as though they possessed more inﬂuence in their parenting role. As well, both mothers and fathers felt as though they actually had more inﬂuence over their daughters than their sons. Parental optimism thus appears to be an important component to feeling efﬁcacious in one’s parenting role. Consistent with previous ﬁndings for parents of older children, it appears relatively distinct from dispositional optimism about one’s own outcomes. This factor should continue to be studied in combination with other parent, child and social factors in the exploration of parenting dynamics.
Werner, Shannon E., "Optimism in parents of 8-year-olds and adolescents: Relations with parental efficacy, age of the child, and gender" (2004). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 747.