AIMS: This paper describes a concept analysis carried out to remove some of the ambiguity surrounding the conceptual meaning of perceived parental efficacy and to distinguish it from related concepts such as parental confidence and parental competence.
BACKGROUND: Constructing parental efficacy is a crucial step for family members after the birth of their first child. For some authors, perceived parental efficacy is a motor for adequate parental practices. Confusion about the definition and measurement of this concept has hindered both psychology and nursing practice and research. Concept delineation and concept clarification are required in order to further the development of the concept of perceived parental efficacy.
METHODS: A literature search using a variety of online databases yielded 113 articles between the years 1980 and 2000. The final sample (n=60) consisted of 30 articles from two disciplines: nursing and psychology. A content analysis of the literature was done using Rodger's evolutionary concept analysis method.
FINDINGS: Content analysis of the literature yielded four contributors to perceived parental efficacy: positive enactive mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, verbal persuasion and an appropriate physiological and affective state. Perceived parental efficacy can thus be defined as 'beliefs or judgements a parent holds of their capabilities to organize and execute a set of tasks related to parenting a child'.
CONCLUSION: This conceptual analysis has allowed perceived parental efficacy to be distinguished from parental confidence and parental competence. Both nursing and psychology research, practice and education will benefit from a more precise and delineated concept.