Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Douglas Barnett


Parenting interventions consistently have been shown to improve positive parenting effectiveness, child adjustment, and family functioning (Gardner et al., 2010). However, attendance rates reported in the literature tend to be low and dropout rates tend to be high, which likely diminishes the positive impact of such programs (Dumas et al., 2007). Parenting group success begins with attendance, therefore, the study aimed to understand which life factors were associated with attendance. Specifically, the study both qualitatively and quantitatively evaluated parents' responses to a brief intervention using MI techniques by using a coding system developed by the author to understand maternal expectations of group, perceived social support, and previous intervention experience. It was expected that mothers' age, race/ethnicity, income, education, marital status, negative affect, motivation, perceived social support, and previous intervention experience would combine to predict their intervention attendance.

Data for this thesis were collected by the Mom Power Group developers (Muzik et al., 2011) and provided to the author as an archival data set. In total, 114 mothers and their children were recruited and 99 participated (or completed measures of depression and PTSD). Of the 99, 35 mothers (35%) completed measures with no pre-intervention Motivational Interviewing (MI) questions, and 64 (65%) of the participants completed pre-intervention MI questions and measures. The pre-interview questions were coded using a system designed by the author to classify mothers' expectations for group participation, perception of social support, and experience of previous interventions. Expectations were coded into four categories: help for self, child, parenting, or other. Perceived social support was rated on a four- point scale with zero indicating no support and four indicating strong support for both self and parenting, and coders also briefly summarized the mothers' previous experience and perception of previous experience. Hierarchical linear regressions revealed that race/ethnicity, income, education, marital status, negative affect, motivation, and perceived social support were not significant predictors of attendance, either individually or together after controlling for mothers age and education. Qualitative analyses revealed high levels of positive expectations amongst mothers and that the program offered incentives and removed barriers for maternal participation. This study demonstrated that positive expectations and attendance rates were high for Mom Power Group, and future research is needed to understand the influence of motivational interviewing techniques and incentives on attendance when expectations are low.