When homeless, families experience disruptions that may compromise parents’ abilities to demonstrate effective caregiving behaviors with their children. Consistently supportive parenting practices, however, are critical for children’s adaptive development within highly stressful environments. Although supportive housing sites provide families with affordable, private housing, it is unknown if parenting practices change or remain stable as families navigate from homeless to housed status. The purpose of this study was to describe change in observed effective parenting practices of 229 formerly homeless parent-child dyads over three years, and to examine the role of individual and contextual factors in contributing to change processes. Mothers and children, enrolled in a randomized control trial, participated annually in 26-min of videotaped interaction tasks on four measurement occasions. Using second-order latent growth curve modeling, we examined growth in a latent factor of effective parenting. The effective parenting factor met assumptions of strong factorial invariance, providing evidence that change in the construct was attributed to true growth rather than measurement error. Results indicated that group-level effective parenting improved over time, although individuals demonstrated variability in change. A quadratic fixed factor model provided the best fit to the data; effective parenting increased, but improvements tapered off as time passed. Parents who reported lower levels of parenting self-efficacy at baseline experienced greater improvements in parenting. Perceived social support, participation in a prevention program, and history of residential instability did not predict growth. Results are discussed in the context of intervention and parenting in transition.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2012. Major: Family Social Science. Advisor: Abigail H. Gewirtz. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 111 pages, appendices A-C.
Plowman, Elizabeth Jeanne.
Factors accounting for change in effective parenting following homelessness..
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