Using social cognitive theory to understand meta-parenting in parents of young children

Kami A. Merrifield*, Wendy C. Gamble, Jeong Jin Yu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Meta-parenting is a construct that refers to parents’ thought processes as they employ and assess parenting strategies based on their child’s behavior and perceptions of his/her developmental course. The present study examined the associations among parenting self-efficacy, positive relational maintenance, parent and child characteristics, and meta-parenting in heterosexual parents of young children. Mother’s level of education was positively associated with her maintenance behaviors and fathers’ reports of marital maintenance was positively associated with mothers’ reports of meta-parenting. Parenting self-efficacy was positively associated with meta-parenting for mothers and fathers. Child characteristics were not associated with meta-parenting. The present study contributes to current knowledge regarding the empirical associations among these variables and meta-parenting cognitions and by adopting a theoretical perspective, or Social Cognitive Theory, as a backdrop for understanding these and other possible influences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362-369
Number of pages8
JournalFamily Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • marriage
  • meta-parenting
  • parenting self-efficacy
  • relationship maintenance
  • social cognitive theory


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