Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Cortney S. Warren

Second Committee Member

Jennifer L. Rennels

Third Committee Member

Marta Meana

Fourth Committee Member

Tara Raines

Number of Pages



Juvenile delinquency and child maltreatment are prevalent in the U.S., particularly among ethnic minority children. Although parent skills training is effective in preventing these problems, recruitment and retention rates of parents from ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic minority groups are less than satisfactory. In a qualitative study of 13 high-risk African American mothers, Davis (2009) investigated the deterrents to recruitment and participation for parent skills training programs. The resulting theory, the Mothers Shouldn't Need Help Script, explicates the relationship between the beliefs reported by these mothers and participation in parenting skills classes. To build on these findings, the overarching purpose of this study was to investigate the generalizability of the Mothers Shouldn't Need Help Script (Davis, 2009) in a larger sample of 308 African American and 65 European American mothers. Mothers recruited via a combination of methods completed self-report measures that included demographic information, socioeconomic status (SES), attitudes towards institutional authority (GAIAS: Rigby, 1982), and racial identity attitudes (African American mothers only; CRIS: Worrell, Vandiver, & Cross, 2004) online or via telephone. In addition, mothers completed the Parenting Belief Questionnaire (PBQ), which was developed to measure four constructs of the Mothers Shouldn't Need Help Script. Multiple regression analyses with the GAIAS and PBQ subscales supported the hypothesized relationships between parenting beliefs as detailed in the Mothers Shouldn't Need Help Script for the African American mothers. Specifically, when asked to attend a parenting skills class, stronger beliefs that parenting is an innate ability; parental responsibility for children's misbehavior; and negative attitudes towards authority figures predicted stronger feelings of being accused of being a bad parent. These relationships were not found in the European American sample. Additionally, cluster analysis with the three PBQ constructs and the GAIAS yielded four unique score profiles of response patterns on measures of parenting beliefs (i.e., PBQ/GAIAS groups). Chi-squared analyses indicated that the four PBQ/GAIAS groups differed significantly in regards to African American racial identity attitude profiles (i.e., CRIS cluster membership) and SES group membership among African American mothers; and SES group membership for the combined African American and European American sample. Overall, these findings suggest that interventions to neutralize the beliefs outlined in the Mothers Shouldn't Need Help Script may affect African American mothers' reaction to requests to attend parenting skills classes and receptiveness to the skills taught in those classes.


African American poor families; African Americans; Authority; Diversity; Mothers; Parenting – Study and teaching; Social status; Therapy resistance


Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Psychology | Race and Ethnicity

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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