The Parent Cognition Scale (PCS) is a 30-item self-report measure designed to assess the degree to which parents endorse dysfunctional child-responsible and parent-causal attributions for child misbehavior. Respondents are asked to think about a target child’s misbehavior over the past 2 months and to rate various possible causes for their child’s misbehavior on a 6-point Likert scale that ranges from 1 (always true) to 6 (never true); when scoring, each item is reverse scored so that higher scores indicate greater endorsement. This measure yields a Child-Responsible subscore (which draws from items such as "My child thinks that s/he is the boss") and a Parent-Causal subscore (which draws from items such as "I'm not structured enough with my child").
Attribution Theory posits that people create naïve causal explanations (i.e., attributions) for perceived events to better understand, predict, and respond to their environment (Heider, 1958). Interpersonal attributions (i.e., attributions for another’s behavior) can be based on the other person’s behaviors, perceptions, feelings, and thoughts. Additionally, interpersonal attributions can be affected by perceived characteristics of the other person (e.g., whether or not the other intended a given event to occur) and by characteristics of the attributor (e.g., whether the attributor likes or dislikes the other person) and/or of the event itself (e.g., whether it benefits or harms the attributor). Causal attributions are explanations for the occurrence of an event and responsibility attributions concern an individual’s accountability for having caused the event (Bradbury & Fincham, 1990).
[+] PMCID, PUBMED ID, or CITATION
Text Citation: Heider, F. (1958). The psychology of interpersonal relations. New York: Wiley.
Text Citation: Bradbury, T. N., & Fincham, F. D. (1990). Attributions in marriage: Review and critique. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 3–33.
Text Citation: Johnston, C., Chen, M., & Ohan, J. (2006). Mothers’ attributions for behavior in nonproblem boys, boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant behavior. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 35, 60–71.
Text Citation: Nix, R. L., Pinderhughes, E. E., Dodge, K. A., Bates, J. E., Pettit, G. S., & McFadyen-Ketchum, S. A. (1999). The relation between mothers’ hostile attribution tendencies and children’s externalizing behavior problems: The mediating role of mothers’ harsh discipline practices. Child Development, 70, 896–909.
Text Citation: Smith, A. M., & O’Leary, S. G. (1995). Attributions and arousal as predictors of maternal discipline. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 19, 459–471.
Text Citation: Wilson, C., Gardner, F., Burton, J., & Leung, S. (2007). Maternal attributions and observed maternal behaviour: Are they linked? Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 35, 165–178.
Text Citation: Leung, D. W., & Slep, A. M. S. (2006). Predicting inept discipline: The role of parental depressive symptoms, anger, and attributions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74, 524–534.
Text Citation: Bugental, D. B. (2004). Parent Attribution Test manual. Retrieved October 17, 2007, from http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/bugental/PAT.manual.doc
Structural validity, convergent validity, discriminant validity, internal consistency, and temporal stability of this measure were examined. As expected, confirmatory factor analysis resulted in 2 factors, Child-Responsible and Parent-Causal; the final model was cross-validated in a holdout sample. The final scale demonstrated adequate internal consistency (alphas = .81-.90), test-retest reliability (rs = .55-.76), and convergent and discriminant validity. In terms of convergent validity, dysfunctional parent-causal and child-responsible attributions significantly predicted parental emotional problems, ineffective discipline, parent-child physical aggression, and low parenting satisfaction. In terms of discriminant validity, associations with parent-child aggression and parenting satisfaction were generally larger than with partner aggression and relationship satisfaction.
[+] PMCID, PUBMED ID, or CITATION
Text Citation: Snarr, J. D., Slep, A. M. S., & Grande, V. P. (2009). Validation of a new self-report measure of parental attributions. Psychological assessment, 21, 390-401.
Participants in Snarr, Slep & Grande (2009) were 453 couples recruited for a larger study of family conflict and coping (see O’Leary, Slep, & O’Leary, 2007; Slep & O’Leary, 2007). For purposes of generalizability, participants were recruited from within Suffolk County, New York, by means of random digit dialing. Eligibility required that a couple (a) be either married or cohabiting, (b) have coparented a 3- to 7-year-old biological child of at least one couple member for at least the past year, and (c) be able to participate in English. More than 229,000 telephone calls were made, resulting in the identification of almost 2,000 eligible families. The final sample was reasonably representative of the local population, as evidenced by comparisons of the sample to recent U. S. Census Data for Suffolk County, as well as to recruited families who were eligible to participate but did not do so (N=1,362; for more details, see Slep, Heyman, Williams, Van Dyke, & O’Leary, 2006). In the final sample, 94.5% of couples had been married for an average of 9.6 years (SD=4.4), the median family income was $74,500 (SD=$43,099), and the mean age of target children (48.1% male) was 5.44 years (SD=1.47). On average, mothers were 35.1 years old (SD=5.0) and had 14.3 years of education (SD=2.3), whereas fathers were 37.3 years old (SD=6.0) and had 14.2 years of education (SD=2.3). Ethnic representation in the sample was as follows: White (non-Hispanic), 80.6%; Hispanic, 8.6%; Black, 6.2%; Asian, 2.0%; other, 2.5%. Roughly 18% (n=75 mothers, 86 fathers) of participants placed their target child in at least the borderline clinical range (t score=60) on the Externalizing Behavior Problems scale of the Child Behavior Checklist (Achenbach, 1991). Also, almost 13% (n=58) of the families in this sample reported at least one act of severe parent–child aggression in the past year (see Slep & O’Leary, 2005, for details).
This measure has not been influenced yet.
This measure has not been validated yet.
The Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) program seeks to promote basic research on the initiation, personalization and maintenance of behavior change. By integrating work across disciplines, this effort will lead to an improved understanding of the underlying principles of behavior change. The SOBC program aims to implement a mechanisms-focused, experimental medicine approach to behavior change research and to develop the tools required to implement such an approach. The experimental medicine approach involves: identifying an intervention target, developing measures to permit verification of the target, engaging the target through experimentation or intervention, and testing the degree to which target engagement produces the desired behavior change.
Within the SOBC Measures Repository, researchers have access to measures of mechanistic targets that have been (or are in the processing of being) validated by SOBC Research Network Members and other experts in the field. The SOBC Validation Process includes three important stages of evaluation for each proposed measure: Identification, Measurement, and Influence.
The first stage of validation requires a measure to be Identified within the field; there must be theoretical support for the specific measure of the proposed mechanistic target or potential mechanism of behavior change. This evidence may include references for the proposed measure, or theoretical support for the construct that the proposed measure is intended to assess. The second stage of validation requires demonstration that the level and change in level of the chosen mechanistic target can be Measured with the proposed measure (assay). For example, if the proposed measure is a questionnaire, the score on the measure should indicate the activity of the target process, and it must have strong psychometric properties. The third stage of validation requires demonstration that the measure can be Influenced; there must be evidence that the measured target is malleable and responsive to manipulation. Evidence relating to each stage includes at least one peer-reviewed publication or original data presentation (if no peer-reviewed research is available to support the claim) and is evaluated by SOBC Research Network Members and experts in the field.
Once a measure has gone through these three stages, it will then either be Validated or Not validated according to SOBC Research Network standards. If a measure is Validated, then change in the measured target was reliably associated with Behavior Change. If a measure is Not validated, then change in the measured target was not reliably associated with Behavior Change. Why would we share measures that are not validated? The SOBC Research Network values open, rigorous, and transparent research. Our goal is to make meaningful progress and develop replicable and effective interventions in behavior change science. Therefore, the SOBC sees value in providing other researchers in the field with information regarding measures that work and measures that fall short for specific targets. Further, a measure that is not validated for one target in one population may be validated in another target or population.
Want to learn more? For any questions regarding the SOBC Validation Process or Measures Repository, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Has the mechanism been identified as a potential target for behavior change? This section summarizes theoretical support for the mechanism.
Have the psychometric properties of this measure been assessed? This section includes information such as content validity, internal consistency, and test-retest reliability.
Has a study manipulation led to change in the mechanism? This section addresses evidence that this measure is modifiable by experimental manipulation or clinical intervention.
Has a change in this mechanism been associated with behavior change? This section addresses empirical evidence that causing change in the measure reliably produces subsequent behavior change.