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J Child Fam Stud (2008) 17:675–688

DOI 10.1007/s10826-007-9181-y

ORIGINAL PAPER

Parent Behavior Importance and Parent Behavior


Frequency Questionnaires: Psychometric
Characteristics

Barbara A. Mowder Æ Michelle Sanders

Published online: 6 November 2007


Ó Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Abstract This study examined the psychometric characteristics of two parenting


measures: the Parent Behavior Importance Questionnaire (PBIQ) and Parent
Behavior Frequency Questionnaire (PBFQ). Both research questionnaires are based
on the parent development theory (PDT) and offer parent as well as non-parent
respondents the opportunity to rate 38 parenting behaviors in terms of importance or
frequency, respectively. The parenting behaviors correspond to one of six PDT
parenting characteristics (i.e., bonding, discipline, education, general welfare and
protection, responsivity, sensitivity); according to the PDT, these characteristics
vary in importance and frequency according to children’s developmental levels as
well as unique characteristics and needs. Psychometric examination of these
questionnaires reveals that the scales have strength in terms of reliability and
validity. Results are discussed relative to reliability and validity, the PDT, and
current parenting research.

Keywords Parent development theory  Parent measurement 


Parent questionnaires  Parent role  Parenting

Contemporary psychologists frequently point to parenting as a critical component in


children’s growth and development (e.g., Bornstein and Bradley 2003; Collins et al.
2000; Magnuson and Duncan 2004). In fact, parenting influences distinct child
development outcomes (Dallaire et al. 2006; Okagaki and Luster 2005). For

B. A. Mowder (&)  M. Sanders


Department of Psychology, Pace University, One Pace Plaza, New York, NY 10038, USA
e-mail: BMowder@pace.edu

M. Sanders
Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA

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example, parenting characterized by child-centered patterns of discipline, with


clearly communicated demands in a context of child acceptance and regard, is
associated with children developing competence and self-esteem (Collins et al.
1995) and fewer externalizing problems (Caspi et al. 2004; Kerr et al. 2004) than
harsh parenting. Commonly referred to as authoritative parenting (Baumrind 1989),
this style of parental disciplinary behavior is linked to many positive child
development outcomes.
Baumrind’s (1971, 1989, 1991) work on discipline dominated much of the
parenting research for decades, although some time ago Steinberg et al. (1994)
complained that her view of parenting ‘‘is a theory about types, not about specific
parenting practices.’’ (p. 758) Nevertheless, her many, thoughtful contributions
continue to influence parenting research. However, there are other theories related to
parenting, such as Galinsky (1987) who presents six stages of parenthood (i.e.,
image making, nurturing, authority, interpretive, interdependent, departure). Her
perspective, however, often fails to capture researchers’ attention. More recently,
the parent development theory (PDT) provides not only a definition of parents (i.e.,
individuals who recognize, accept, and perform the parent role), but also a
description of parenting as cognitively based with accompanying, associated
behaviors (Mowder 2005).
The PDT views parents as carrying out a social role and, although there are
commonalities, ultimately how individuals conceptualize the parent role is
somewhat unique. The commonalities, or parent role characteristics, typically
include indications of bonding (caring, demonstrating affection, loving), discipline
(providing, discussing and following through with rules), education (educating,
guiding, teaching), general welfare and protection (providing for and protecting),
responsivity (interacting with and responding to), and sensitivity (understanding and
matching responses to children’s needs). Although the commonalities generally
form the context for the parent role, uniqueness depends on individuals’ relative
weighting of the parent role characteristics. The importance of each parent role
characteristic therefore depends on individuals’ own personal characteristics (e.g.,
age, prior experience as a child in a parent–child relationship) in conjunction with
their social-cultural milieu. Gradually, even from early childhood, parenting
perspectives become increasingly refined due to changing individual and social-
cultural factors and, when a parent, the child’s characteristics (e.g., developmental
status, special needs), the unique parent–child relationship which develops, and
broader family dynamics (e.g., siblings, spousal relationship) (Mowder 2005, 2006).
Over time, a number of measurement scales, some relying on theory and some
not, have been developed to measure different aspects of parenting. The more
common measures include the Parent Behavior Checklist (PBC) (Fox 1994), the
Parent Behavior Inventory (PBI) (Lovejoy et al. 1992), and the Parenting Stress
Index (PSI) (Abidin 1995). The PBC, for instance, assesses mothers’ parenting
behaviors by offering a 100 item self-report inventory. Brenner and Fox (1999)
suggest, based on responses to the PBC, that parenting practices can be grouped into
clusters related to Baumrind’s (1991) classification system (i.e., authoritarian,
authoritative, and permissive parenting styles). One limitation of this measure,

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however, is the restricted focus on mothers’ parenting behaviors, excluding those of


fathers.
The PBI, in contrast to the PBC, is a self-report measure for use with mothers and
fathers. On this inventory, parents report how strongly they agree or disagree with
20 parenting statements. More specifically, the PBI assesses two distinct dimensions
of parenting: supportive/engagement behaviors and hostile/coercive behaviors.
Although the PBI is valid for assessing parenting behaviors, the measure is strictly
for use with parents of preschool and young elementary school-aged children
(Lovejoy et al. 1992).
The PSI, compared with the PBC and PBI, has been widely used with various
parent populations (Abidin 1995). This measure specifically assesses parents’
perception of stress related to parenting. Parents respond how strongly they agree or
disagree with 101 parenting statements. The PSI generates an overall stress score as
well as two subscale scores, the Maternal Subscale Score and the Child Subscale
Score. The maternal score indicates, for instance, parental competence, depression,
investment in parenting, and social isolation. The child scale, on the other hand,
indicates parents’ perceptions of children’s characteristics, such as adaptability,
demandingness, hyperactivity, and mood. Research suggests that this measure is
valid to assess maternal and paternal stress (Deater-Deckard and Scarr 1996).
Beyond the PBC, PBI, and PSI parenting measures, the Parent Behavior
Importance Questionnaire (PBIQ) and the Parent Behavior Frequency Questionnaire
(PBFQ) (Mowder 2000) offer alternative ways to measure parenting. The PBIQ and
PBFQ utilize parenting behaviors (e.g., ‘‘reading to your child’’) derived from over a
decade of theory building and research. In the 1990s, Mowder (1991, 1993) began
developing the PDT and early research employed the precursor to the PBIQ and
PBFQ, the Parent Role Questionnaire (PRQ). The first question of that early
instrument asks respondents to generate a definition or written description of what
being a parent means. That is, after answering demographic questions, respondents
are prompted to describe their parenting or for non-parents, what their role would be
if a parent. Subsequently, participants indicate importance, as well as frequency
levels, for the six parent role characteristics (i.e., bonding, discipline, education,
general welfare and protection, responsivity, sensitivity). Finally, a relative
weighting of the six characteristics in relation to developmental stages (e.g.,
infant/toddler, preschool) is asked for; one modification asks that respondents rank
order the parent role characteristics. Indeed, the PRQ was examined psychomet-
rically and found to have adequate measurement properties (Mowder et al. 1993).
For example, internal consistency of the measure is high since each parent role
characteristic, taken separately, is significantly correlated (p \ .01) with the overall
importance score; test–retest results show that the PRQ has moderate strength in this
area with all responses significant at p \ .001, with the exception of bonding (which
could not be calculated due to the lack of variability in responses).
Research using the PRQ determined that parents typically generate parenting
perceptions generally encompassing the six parenting characteristics (Mowder et al.
1993): bonding, discipline, education, general welfare and protection, responsivity,
and sensitivity. Each of the six characteristics has and continues to receive attention
in the research literature (Mowder 2006). For example, bonding or parental warmth

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is recognized in the development of children’s moral regulation (Gardner and Ward


2000) and Denham et al. (2000) determined that education or proactive parenting,
including instruction and support for preschoolers, is associated with low levels of
externalizing problems in children. Mass and van Nijnatten (2005) addressed the
issue of child protection in the context of parental responsibility. The issue of
responsivity has received extensive research attention over time; Kochanska and
Aksan (2004), for instance, maintain that responsiveness is a central factor in
children’s socialization. Finally, Lohaus et al. (2004) discussed sensitivity, and the
complexity of cultural and contextual factors, in parenting and Ryan et al. (2006)
recently considered sensitivity, determining children who have at least one
supportive parent (regardless of parent gender) perform higher cognitively than
those with none.
Although all six PDT parenting characteristics are pertinent, their relative
importance varies at different stages in children’s development (i.e., infant/toddler,
preschool, elementary school aged, adolescence, late adolescence, and adulthood)
(Mowder et al. 1995). Therefore, the importance of each of the six parenting
characteristics fluctuates to a certain degree for parenting infants in contrast to, for
instance, parenting preschoolers, elementary aged children, or adolescents. Disci-
pline, for example, is the least important parenting characteristic for infants/
toddlers, but becomes increasingly important when parenting an elementary school
aged child.
In contrast to the early PRQ measure, the PBIQ and PBFQ present specific parent
behaviors associated with the six parenting characteristics. For example, a bonding
behavior would be ‘‘holding your child close to you,’’ a discipline behavior would
be ‘‘talking with your child about rules,’’ and an education behavior would be
‘‘placing an emphasis on school.’’ The 38 PBIQ and PBFQ parenting behaviors
were selected after a decade of extensive research (Mowder 2000), beginning with
the PRQ (Mowder et al. 1993) and also including parent focus groups, one group for
each of the six developmental levels (e.g., parents of infants/toddlers, preschoolers,
elementary school aged children). Thus, the PBIQ offers individuals the opportunity
to rate the importance of 38 parenting behaviors, and the PBFQ provides an
opportunity to indicate the frequency for the same 38 behaviors.
The PBIQ and PBFQ measures are used with both parents as well as non-parents
since parenting perceptions develop as early as preschool age and parents as well as
non-parents have ideas or schemata about what constitutes the parent role (Mowder
2005). That is, from early in development, children as young as 3 years of age begin
to discern social roles (e.g., parents, teachers); children’s parenting perceptions
become increasingly refined over time due to their own experiences as a child in a
parent–child relationship as well as other factors such as family dynamics and the
social-cultural milieu. When administered to non-parents, the directions are
modified slightly by asking respondents to answer the way they anticipate parenting
instead of how they currently parent. Indeed, late adolescents and young adults
provide responses generally consistent with parents (Clifford 2004).
The current research examined the relatively recently developed PBIQ and PBFQ
(and their related six subscales), primarily in terms of internal consistency and
stability of responses, both indications of reliability. More specifically, our first

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research question was to what extent do the PBIQ and PBFQ, including their
respective six subscales (i.e., bonding, discipline, education, general welfare and
protection, responsivity, sensitivity), demonstrate internal consistency and test–
retest reliability or stability? It was hypothesized that each measure would have
moderate to high internal consistency, as well as moderate subscale internal
consistency. In addition, we hypothesized that the overall PBIQ and PBFQ
measures, as well as their respective subscales, would demonstrate moderate to high
test–retest stability or reliability over time. The second research question was to
what extent are the PBIQ and PBFQ measures, with associated subscales, related to
one another? We hypothesized that there would be a moderate correlation between
the two measures and their related subscales.

Method

Participants

Participants in this study were 82 graduate students at a university on the East Coast
of the United States. Eighty-five percent of the participants (n = 69) were female
and 14% (n = 12) male. In terms of age, the respondents indicated their age in terms
of age ranges (e.g., 20–29, 30–39, 40–49). Seventy-nine of the participants provided
information indicating their age; 85% (n = 67) indicated ages between 20 and
29 years of age, 13% (n = 10) between 30 and 39, 1% (n = 1) between 40 and 49,
and 1% (n = 1) between 50 and 59. Ethnicity was reported by 80 of the 82
respondents; 76% (n = 61) indicated Caucasian, 6% (n = 5) African-American, 6%
(n = 5) Hispanic/Latino, 8% (n = 6) Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% (n = 1) American
Indian, and 2% (n = 2) Multi-ethnic.

Materials

Parent Behavior Importance Questionnaire: Data from the PRQ free response
format questions (Mowder et al. 1993), in conjunction with focus group partici-
pants’ contributions, generated an initial pool of 82 parent behavior items, from
which 38 items were ultimately selected (Mowder 2000). That is, the 82 items were
derived from the free response format answers to the initial PRQ question as well as
parenting behaviors generated from the focus groups. One PRQ respondent, for
instance, said that the parent role involved, ‘‘love and nurture. To concern myself
with the child’s spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being. To protect and train
the child to have respect for others and authority and teach right from wrong.
Encourage self-esteem and growth in knowledge.’’ (Mowder et al. 1995, p. 30).
From these parent role descriptions, specific parenting behavior items were
developed.
Subsequently, the initial 82 items were presented to parents from two schools;
ultimately, 173 parents rated the 82 items (Mowder 2000). First, individuals
specified behaviors in terms of general parenting characteristic identification (i.e.,

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bonding, discipline, education, general welfare and protection, responsivity,


sensitivity); that is, they indicated what characteristic the parenting behavior was
most like. Second, individuals determined each behavior’s importance using the
scale of ‘‘1’’ very important, ‘‘2’’ important, ‘‘3’’ somewhat important, and ‘‘4’’ not
important. Using the parent characteristic designations, in conjunction with the
behavior importance ratings, the 82 individual items were examined for (1)
representation as a distinct parenting characteristic and (2) determination of
importance level.
Subsequently, items were selected for PBIQ questionnaire inclusion based on
whether a majority of respondents held the behavior as indicative of a single parent
role characteristic and, in addition, if the mean value of the item was 1.5 or lower
(i.e., indicating the item was generally viewed as ‘‘very important,’’ as opposed to
‘‘important,’’ ‘‘somewhat important,’’ or ‘‘not important’’). Items representing each
of the six parenting characteristics meeting these initial criteria were selected for
inclusion, which resulted in five parenting behaviors for each of the six parent role
characteristics or 30 items overall. Additional behaviors with item values of 1.25 or
lower (i.e., indicating a high level of importance or ‘‘very important’’) in
conjunction with a high percentage of a single parenting characteristic were
selected next. For instance, if a behavior was evaluated as very important and, in
addition, the item was primarily associated with one parenting characteristic, but
also somewhat indicative of another, the item was selected. An additional eight
items meeting these criteria were included in the final 38 item measure. Each of the
eight selected items was utilized in only one of the six subscales. This method was
chosen so there would not be a spuriously high correlation among the subscales
(Kline 2005).
The resulting PBIQ measure has 38 items, each of which ultimately corresponds
to one of the six parent role characteristics (i.e., bonding has 8 items, discipline 6
items, education 5 items, general welfare and protection 5 items, responsivity 8
items, and sensitivity 6 items) defined in the PDT (Mowder 2005; Mowder et al.
1993). In addition to item selection, the Likert-type scale for the PBIQ was revised
by changing the numerical values utilized in the initial PRQ scale. That is, the order
of ratings was reversed so that lower numbers indicated a lower (rather than higher)
level of importance. Further, ‘‘0’’ was used to indicate the behavior as not at all
important along with four additional importance measurement points. Thus,
individuals responding to the PBIQ respond to the parenting behaviors by indicating
‘‘0’’ as not at all important, ‘‘1’’ somewhat important, ‘‘2’’ important, ‘‘3’’ very
important, or ‘‘4’’ extremely important. Prior research using the PBIQ used
Cronbach’s alpha, a well regarded and frequently used measure of test instruments’
reliability. Leibling (2005), for example, determined that reliabilities in terms of
internal consistency ranged from a = .63 to .85 for the PBIQ; a mean reliability of
a = .77 was found. Stronger reliability figures were found by Levine (2003);
Cronbach’s alphas were: bonding a = .87, discipline a = .88, education a = .61,
general welfare and protection a = .85, responsivity a = .87, and sensitivity
a = .88.
Parent Behavior Frequency Questionnaire: Because prior research using the
PRQ indicated a high degree of correspondence between importance and frequency

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ratings (Mowder et al. 1993), the PBFQ utilizes the same parenting behaviors, but
this scale is anchored for frequency as opposed to importance. An argument could
be made that since importance and frequency are strongly related to one another,
one scale is sufficient. However, due to heuristic considerations (e.g., potentially
respondents could indicate parent role characteristic or behavioral anchor impor-
tance, but not engage in the behavior) two scales were maintained. Thus, the PBFQ
utilizes the same behavioral items, but employs a frequency rather than importance
scale. The frequency scale allows indications of ‘‘0’’ showing that the behavior
never or would never occur, ‘‘1’’ for infrequently, ‘‘2’’ sometimes, ‘‘3’’ usually, and
‘‘4’’ always. Thus, the PBFQ indicates how frequently the individual provides, or
would provide if a parent, each parenting behavior. Leibling (2005) found that
reliabilities ranged from a = .47 to .89 for the PBFQ, with a mean reliability of .76.

Procedure

After Institutional Review Board (I.R.B.) approval, potential respondents were


asked to participate in this research. Each respondent was advised that participation
was voluntary, with responses confidential and anonymous; subsequently, the PBIQ
and PBFQ were administered twice, with at least a 2-week intervening time period.
In addition to responding to the two questionnaires, each participant was asked to
provide demographic information (e.g., age, ethnicity).

Results

The results were examined in relation to the research questions and related
hypotheses. Therefore, data collected on the PBIQ and PBFQ considered to what
extent these two measures, with their respective subscales, demonstrate overall and
specific subscale internal consistency or reliability (Charter 2003). Likewise, the
two scales with their related subscales were examined in terms of their test–retest
stability, another indication of reliability. Finally, the PBIQ and PBFQ, and
respective subscales, were considered in terms of their relationship with each other,
one indication of validity.

PBIQ Reliability Results

Using Cronbach’s alpha, an established psychometric indication of reliability (Kline


2005), the internal consistency of the PBIQ was .93 at Time 1 and .94 at Time 2.
The internal consistency of each of the PBIQ subscales varied somewhat, from
education (a = .67), discipline (a = .71), and general welfare and protection
(a = .73), to responsivity (a = .77), bonding (a = .78), and sensitivity (a = .80) at
Time 1. The PBIQ internal consistencies at Time 2 were somewhat similar with
education (a = .69), discipline (a = .74) and responsivity (a = .76), sensitivity
(a = .78), and bonding (a = .80), with the exception of general welfare and

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protection (a = .33). Thus, the PBIQ measure demonstrates strong internal


consistency; the reliability of the overall measure is stronger than the reliabilities
associated with the six subscales.
The corrected item to total subscale correlation values were also calculated. This
calculation considered the degree to which each item relates to the subscale total;
this measure is important since the items were selected for subscale inclusion
primarily based on item identification as a specific parent role characteristic rather
than selection based on factor analytic procedures. For bonding, the correlations
ranged from .26 to .77 and for discipline, the range was from .46 to .65. With regard
to education, the range was .36 to .72 and for general welfare and protection, the
values ranged from .23 to .49. For responsivity, the values ranged from .38 to .58
and for sensitivity, from .43 to .82. Thus, items within each PBIQ subscale have
varying degrees of relationship with each subscale total.
The extent to which each of the six parenting subscales relate to the entire
measure was determined by part–whole correlations. In other words, each subscale
was correlated with the entire measure to determine the level of association between
each subscale and the overall measure. These correlations ranged from r = .64
(general welfare and protection) to r = .79 (bonding). The correlations were
somewhat similar at Time 2, with r = .56 (general welfare and protection) to r = .86
(bonding). Thus, each subscale is moderately to strongly correlated with the overall
measure.
In addition, the PBIQ was examined in terms of how each of the six subscales
relate to the others. This examination finds that the subscales are, for the most part,
strongly correlated with one another (see Table 1). That is, Table 1 shows each of
the six subscale’s correlation with each of the other subscales. For example, the
correlation matrix shows that most of the inter-correlations are significant at the
p \ .001 level; the exception is the relationship of general welfare and protection to
the sensitivity subscale, which was not significant. This finding provides additional
evidence of internal consistency of the PBIQ measure, as well as providing an
indication of construct validity since the subscales generally are highly correlated
with one another.
With regard to test–retest reliability, in terms of the measure’s stability, the PBIQ
demonstrates some strength in this area, with an r = .78 (p \ .01). Correlations also

Table 1 Correlation matrix of the six parent role characteristics of the Parent Behavior Importance
Questionnaire (PBIQ)
Bonding Discipline Education Gen. W & P Responsivity Sensitivity

Bonding
Discipline .78*
Education .71* .75*
Gen. W & P .61* .52* .58*
Responsivity .80* .72* .66* .50*
Sensitivity .53* .47* .51* .23 .71*

* p B .001, two-tailed

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were determined for each of the six PBIQ subscales. Results for five of the six
subscales were significant at the p \ .01 level (i.e., bonding, r = .75; discipline,
r = .72; education, r = .74; responsivity, r = .65; and, sensitivity, r = .65). And,
results for one of the six subscales was significant at the p \ .05 level (r = .33,
general welfare and protection). These results suggest moderate reliability or
stability for the overall measure, and moderate to low reliability or stability for the
subscales making up the PBIQ. Thus, the hypotheses related to the PBIQ reliability
were generally supported.

PBFQ Reliability Results

Cronbach’s alpha also was used to consider both the overall PBFQ as well as each
of the PBFQ subscale measures. The internal consistency of the PBFQ was a = .92
at Time 1 and .94 Time 2. Further, the internal consistency of each parent role
subscale varied from general welfare and protection (a = .33), education (a = .69),
discipline (a = .74) to responsivity (a = .76), sensitivity (a = .78), and bonding
(a = .80) at Time 1. The internal consistencies at Time 2 were generally somewhat
higher with general welfare and protection (a = .60), education (a = .73), discipline
(a = .77), responsivity (a = .80), bonding (a = .83), and sensitivity (a = .88). Thus,
the PBFQ measure demonstrates strong internal consistency; as was true with the
PBIQ, the reliability of the overall PBFQ measure is stronger than the reliabilities
associated with the six subscales.
The corrected item to total subscale correlation values were also calculated for
the PBFQ for the same reasons they were derived for the PBIQ. For bonding, the
correlations ranged from .42 to .79 and for discipline, the range was from .43 to .61.
With regard to education, the range was .32 to .66 and for general welfare and
protection, the values ranged from .28 to .41. For responsivity, the values ranged
from .40 to .65 and for sensitivity, from .57 to .81. Similar to the results for the
PBIQ, the item to subscale PBFQ correlation values were somewhat varied,
demonstrating a range of relationships to each subscale total.
Part–whole correlations helped determine the extent to which each of the PBFQ
subscales relate to the overall measure. The correlations ranged from r = .64
(general welfare and protection) to r = .80 (discipline) at Time 1. The correlations
were somewhat similar at Time 2, with the range of correlations from general
welfare and protection to the whole measure r = .59 to r = .83 for sensitivity. Thus,
each PBFQ subscale is moderately to strongly correlated with the overall measure.
The PBFQ also was examined in terms of how each of the six PBFQ subscales
relate to the others. The frequency subscales, for the most part, are strongly
correlated with one another (see Table 2). This table shows the extent to which each
of the six PBFQ subscales is related to each other. For example, the correlation
matrix shows that most inter-correlations are significant at the p \ .001 level; the
exception, similar to the PBIQ, is the relationship between general welfare and
protection and sensitivity, which was not significant. This finding provides
additional evidence regarding the internal consistency of the PBFQ measure, as

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Table 2 Correlation matrix of the six parent role characteristics of the Parent Behavior Frequency
Questionnaire (PBFQ)
Bonding Discipline Education Gen. W & P Responsivity Sensitivity

Bonding
Discipline .68*
Education .68* .78*
Gen. W & P .59* .61* .55*
Responsivity .64* .70* .62* .59*
Sensitivity .70* .61* .65* .55 .74*

* p B .001, two-tailed

well as providing an indication of construct validity since the subscales, in general,


are strongly correlated with one another.
With regard to general test–retest reliability, the PBFQ demonstrates some
strength in this area, with an r = .89 (p \ .01). Correlations also were determined
for each of the six PBFQ parent role subscales between Time 1 and Time 2. Results
for each of the PBFQ subscales were significant at the p \ .01 level, ranging from
r = .40 (general welfare and protection) to r = .80 (bonding). The lowest and
highest PBFQ test–retest subscale correlations are the same as those for the PBIQ
subscales. The PBFQ results indicate moderate reliability in terms of stability for
the overall measure and moderate to low reliability for the PBFQ subscale
measures. Thus, the hypotheses related to the PBFQ reliability were generally
supported.

Relationship of the PBIQ to the PBFQ

The relationship between the PBIQ and PBFQ was examined first with the total
scores for each measure. The results reveal that the PBIQ and PBFQ are
significantly correlated with each other, r = .83 (p \ .01) at both Time 1 and Time
2. Correlations were then calculated between the average of each of the 38 items on
the PBIQ between Time 1 and Time 2. Similarly, the average of each score on the
PBFQ was calculated at Time 1 and Time 2; the relationship of the two measures to
each other is r = .79 (p \ .001). See Tables 3 and 4 for the correlation matrix
regarding Times 1 and 2, respectively.
Table 3 shows the correlation between each of the six PBIQ subscales with their
respective PBFQ subscales at Time 1. The correlations between the respective
subscales range from .28 to .80. Table 4 shows the correlation between each of the
six PBIQ subscales with their respective PBFQ subscales at Time 2. At Time 2, the
correlations are similar to those at Time 1, ranging from .22 to .84. These results
indicate that the PBIQ and PBFQ respective subscales, although significantly
related, are not the same and retain some level of distinctiveness. Thus, the
hypothesis that there would be a moderate correlation between the two measures
and their related subscales was generally supported.

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Table 3 Correlation matrix of the six parent role characteristics of the Parent Behavior Importance
Questionnaire (PBIQ) with the six parent role characteristics of the Parent Behavior Frequency Ques-
tionnaire (PBFQ) at Time 1
IBonding IDiscipline IEducation IGen. W & P IResponsivity ISensitivity

FBonding .80**
FDiscipline .70** .72**
FEducation .65** .59** .78**
FGen. W & P .44** .45** .48** .52**
FResponsivity .58** .59** .38** .36** .69**
FSensitivity .50** .49** .39** .28* .47** .74**

* p B .01, two-tailed
** p B .001, two-tailed

Table 4 Correlation matrix of the six parent role characteristics of the Parent Behavior Importance
Questionnaire (PBIQ) with the six parent role characteristics of the Parent Behavior Frequency Ques-
tionnaire (PBFQ) at Time 2
IBonding IDiscipline IEducation IGen. W & P IResponsivity ISensitivity

FBonding .84**
FDiscipline .63** .69**
FEducation .66** .63** .84**
FGen. W & P .47** .28* .37** .53**
FResponsivity .59** .42** .46** .48** .71**
FSensitivity .65** .46** .48** .22 .67** .75**

* p B .01, two-tailed
** p B .001, two-tailed

Discussion

The results of this study reveal a number of findings with regard to the PBIQ and
PBFQ parenting measures. Each measure demonstrates some level of internal
consistency, with somewhat varying strengths. For instance, both the PBIQ and
PBFQ overall measures show strong internal consistency when considering the
measures in terms of Cronbach’s alpha. Further, each of the subscales of the PBIQ
and PBFQ also demonstrate moderate to strong internal consistency (e.g., ranging
from .33 to .80 for PBIQ subscales and .33 to .88 for PBFQ subscales), although
neither one’s related subscales are as strong as the overall measures. In addition,
each measure has some degree of stability, another indication of reliability; the test–
retest reliability of the PBIQ was in the moderate range and the PBFQ reliability in
the moderate/strong range. The relationship between the two measures is moderate,
indicating similarity yet some distinctiveness; this relationship, as well as the
relationships between the respective subscales, provides an indication of construct
validity since both instruments purport to measure the parenting construct.

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There are additional suggestions of PBIQ and PBFQ validity. Indications of


content validity are clear; the PBIQ and PBFQ were developed using the free
responses from over 800 parents (Mowder et al. 1993), in conjunction with parent
focus groups (Mowder 1991, 2000). Turiano (2001) reanalyzed the PRQ (Mowder
et al. 1993) parent role descriptions, using stringent definitional features and an
inter-rater reliability of .97, and found that the six parent role characteristics,
forming the cornerstone of the PDT, are robust. Other research (e.g., Sperling and
Mowder 2006), included the PRQ free response question and, likewise, determined
that parents generate definitional statements consistent with the PDT six parenting
dimensions. Further, because the PRQ parent role elements (e.g., bonding,
discipline) are significantly related to specific parent behaviors on the PBIQ and
PBFQ, additional indications of construct validity are provided. Thus, the PBIQ and
PBFQ offer the opportunity to capture individuals’ evaluation of parenting behavior
importance and frequency, respectively. Because the parenting behaviors were
derived from and are associated with the six PDT parent role characteristics, these
measures are based on theory and generally are psychometrically adequate. Further
research comparing the PBIQ and PBFQ with the more established parenting
measures (e.g., PBC, PBI, PSI) could provide additional indication of validity by
determining the instruments’ similarities and well as areas of distinctiveness.
There are a number of limitations regarding this study, as well as the PBIQ and
PBFQ measures, offering caution as well as avenues for future research. First, the
item selection criteria need further examination. For example, choosing items based
on high importance levels, although potentially heuristically relevant, necessarily
restricted the response range thereby undoubtedly reducing reliability in terms of
internal consistency. In addition, a number of items were selected based on
importance, yet were not as distinct in terms of category identification compared
with other items. The result may have led to subscales with less distinctiveness than
psychometrically desirable. Future research should incorporate not only categorical
designation, but in addition factor analytic procedures. Together, such reexamina-
tion would likely improve the construction of future parenting behavior measures.
Second, the restricted age range of respondents may have influenced the results;
future research should take this issue into account.
The PBIQ and PBFQ have been used in numerous research studies. Although
caution is indicated with the scales, especially at the subscale level, the findings
offer a number of potential insights regarding parenting perceptions. For instance,
there is striking consistency regarding overall parenting perception elements. That
is, in study after study, individuals generate statements which can be captured or
examined using the six PDT parent role characteristics (e.g., Clifford 2004; Mowder
et al. 1993, 1995; Turiano 2001). And, regardless of group studied, parenting is
perceived to vary or fluctuate with children’s developmental levels. Further,
children’s characteristics (e.g., special needs status) influence parenting perceptions
(e.g., Sperling and Mowder 2006). Finally, parenting was examined related to the
9/11 tragedy (Mowder et al. 2006), determining, for instance, that some parenting
beliefs became more important, such as bonding and responsivity, while others,
such as discipline, became less important immediately after the attack.

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J Child Fam Stud (2008) 17:675–688 687

In summary, this research study examined the psychometric characteristics of the


PBIQ and PBFQ determining that each has varying degrees of psychometric
strength. These measures have been employed for research purposes and are not
psychometrically advanced for clinical use. Additional research may refine the
parenting behaviors to produce measures which ultimately may assist professionals
in their clinical work with parents and ultimately provide the context for the
development of parent education programs firmly housed in theory and based on
research.

Acknowledgment Portions of this research were completed as part of Michelle Sanders’ doctoral
project at Pace University-New York City.

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