Aims and objectives: To develop a scale to measure parental self-efficacy in the care of pre-school children during periods of health and minor illness.
Background: Children account for many health service consultations at all levels, but particularly in primary care. There are logistical, financial and social reasons for encouraging self-care by parents and other family members during periods of health and minor illness. In the absence of valid parental self-efficacy measurement tool, this paper describes the development of such a tool.
Design: A psychometric approach combining elements of social policy and health scale development is outlined.
Method: UK health and social policies were searched and from this a systematised concept was developed. This was assessed for international durability by checking the concept against other policies, including those from major international organisations. Statements were developed from this and sent to a panel representing a wide range of stakeholders who were asked to rate the proposed items of the scale and changes were made accordingly.
Results: Widespread agreement among panel members supported the systematised concept. Some alterations to the proposed items, particularly increasing the range of health service providers, were made.
Conclusions: The study suggests a new method for clinical health policy research, including elements of social policy and health services research. The resulting scale can be contextualised for different circumstances and now needs extensive field testing and refinement.
Relevance to clinical practice: There is increasing diversity in the provision of healthcare; however parents remain the primary carers of young children in both health and illness. This tool can be used to measure the impact of health and social policy upon their confidence and knowledge, and to evaluate new initiatives. The emphasis upon health and social policy ensures that those using the tool have a holistic approach to evaluation.
© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.