Me as a Parent scale (MaaPs)
The Me as a Parent scale (MaaPs) is a 16-item measure made up of four subscales that underlie four features of parenting self-regulation. Parenting self-regulation represents the degree to which parents perceive themselves as competent and efficacious in their parenting role. Parenting self-regulation is a term that encompasses a range of parenting skills including the ability to independently problem solve, self-direct, and adapt to parenting challenges over time. 1,2,3
The four features of parenting self-regulation are self-efficacy (MaaPs questions 3, 11, 12, 15), personal agency (MaaPs questions 1, 4, 9, 16), self-sufficiency (MaaPs questions 2, 5, 7, 13) and self-management (MaaPs questions 6, 8, 10, 14).
- Download the MaaPs (PDF)
- To manually record scores on the MaaPs over time, complete this record sheet.
Why the MaaPs was developed
The MaaPs was developed by Parenting Research Centre to address a gap in the empirical measurement of parenting self-regulation and to provide a resource to capture parents’ self-perceived competence and efficacy for use in research and clinical applications. This information can be used to support the understanding of parenting self-regulation beliefs across a range of samples, to measure and predict parent and child wellbeing, and to understand the effectiveness of parenting programs where one of the targeted outcomes is improvement in parent confidence and self-efficacy.
Since its development, the MaaPs has been used in practice and research settings in several countries including Turkey, Pakistan, Belgium, Israel, Canada, the USA, England, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Portugal.
How to score the MaaPs
Once the parent or carer has filled in the MaaPs scale, change the personal agency scores (MaaPs questions 1, 4, 9, 16) by reversing them. For example, if a person scores ‘1’ on question 1, change this to a ‘5’. Do this for all personal agency questions. These scores will now be the new scores to be added to the total score.
- 1 becomes 5
- 2 becomes 4
- 3 stays as 3
- 4 is 2
- 5 is 1.
Then add up the scores for every subscale separately. Use the MaaPs record sheet to record totals. Totals for each subscale can range from 4 to 20.
Lastly, add up the subscale scores to obtain a total MaaPs score. This total score should range from 16 to 80.
How to interpret the MaaPs score
Based on a representative sample of Australian parents living in Victoria, Australia, in 2016 (N = 2535). Table 1 shows average scores on the MaaPs for a representative sample of Australian parents, depicting population norms (average) and standard deviations for parents of 0 to 2-year-olds, 3 to 5-year-olds, 6 to 12-year-olds, and parents of adolescents aged 13-18 years.
Table 1. MaaPs means and standard deviations in an Australian sample
Scores that are one standard deviation or more below the population mean may be viewed as a ‘low’ score and an indication that a parent has a lower than average perception of their parenting self-regulation compared to other parents. Table 2 depicts average and ‘low’ scores for parents by child age, while Table 3 depicts average and ‘low’ scores on parenting self-regulation subscales.
Table 2. Total MaaPs scores – mean (average) and ‘low’ scores
Table 3. MaaPs subscale scores – mean (average) and ‘low’ scores
Possible uses of the MaaPs
The MaaPs is not a psychological assessment tool, but it shows how parents are thinking about four aspects of their parenting confidence. Looking at both grouped and individual data may give an indication of whether perceptions of parenting confidence have increased over the period of program implementation.
When averaged for a group as a whole, the MaaPs may be useful as a measure of change in parenting self-regulation across time, for example as a pre-post measure in a parenting program.
When working with individuals, a ‘low’ Pre score may indicate a need to pay particular attention to how the parent views their efforts to use the intervention strategies. For a parent with a ‘low’ score, drawing their attention to their strengths and how their efforts contribute to changes observed in their child could be helpful in building their sense of confidence.
It is important to note that if parents’ scores are around the mean (average) at Pre, it is unlikely there will be major changes from Pre to Post.
Suggestions for introducing the MaaPs-SF to parents
We recommend watching the below short video before using the MaaPs-SF with parents. The video suggests one way you can introduce the MaaPs- SF to parents, and covers a number of key touch points when asking the questions, including:
- outlining how the scale works and the options for answering
- encouraging open and honest answers
- allowing time for questions and reflection
- opportunity for further sharing and conversation summarising the conversation and next steps.
Tips for introducing the scale
- Introducing the scale works best when you assume the parent will complete it – try not to pre-empt how the parent will feel by saying that these questions might be tricky or hard.
- Go in with the mindset that it is a positive thing to ask these questions and that the questions are not particularly confrontational or invasive. The questions are not outside what practitioners often ask parents.
- Speak directly about the MaaPs tool; be non-apologetic.
- Ensure it is incorporated and seen as part of the overall service.
- Be upfront, inform the parent about confidentiality and the limits of that. For example, you might let them know that the data collected from them will be de-identified in any reports.
- Describe the purpose and importance of collecting data. For example, you might explain that this data collection is about having evidence that the program they are participating in does what it says it will do, which might help to secure more funding to deliver it to more families.
- Be prepared to explain your organisation’s processes and protocols for using and storing information.
- Where any data is to be provided to a funder, explain what information will be shared. For example, you might let them know that the data will be de-identified, and that their responses have no impact on their access to programs or services.
- Take a conversational tone.
- Be clear that there are no right or wrong answers.
- Offer options for completing the survey (e.g. talking through the items together, or the parent filling in the scale themselves).
- Explain the benefits of working together on the survey to discuss responses and assist with goal-setting.
Practitioner assumptions or mindset can create a roadblock, more so than parent reactions. For example, you may worry about breaking a rapport with clients, or worry about upsetting clients by asking these questions.
Try to challenge your thinking around using the survey. If you are uncomfortable with it or do not see its value, this influences parent receptiveness.
- If the parent pushes back, that is OK. It needs to be a big push back to decide not to pursue the survey with the client.
- Sometimes there is an inflated sense of confidence at the beginning of an intervention, which can mean pre- to post intervention changes are minimal.
- To get the most out of this exercise, it is important to value data collection and understand the benefits. Team leaders can conduct training with practitioners to make sure they know why data collection is important and that the MaaPs- SF is an opportunity to reflect the important work they are doing with families.
Working with different cultural communities
Since its publication, the original MaaPs has received widespread interest and has been adapted for use in culturally diverse communities. To expand research and clinical opportunities for using this tool, and ensure accessibility to a wider range of communities, we now offer the MaaPs in the following translations:
- The Me as a Parent scale – Short Form (MaaPs-SF) is a four-item version of the MaaPs. This brief scale is derived from the above 16-item Me as a Parent scale (MaaPs)
- Read more about the Me as a Parent Scale – Short Form in the Journal of Child and Family Studies.