Date of Award

Spring 2013

Project Type


Program or Major

Family Studies

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

John Nimmo


Through semi-structured interviews, the current study examined the role of parental self-efficacy as mothers with low-income navigated challenging contexts and experiences while receiving formal and informal supports. Mothers shared their unique experiences, which provided insight into their lives and how contextual variables influenced parental self-efficacy. As a result of this study, four themes emerged: 1) the function of mental health, 2) sense of community, 3) stability, and 4) the perceptions of child development and growth. Findings indicated that a sense of stability mediated contextual challenges and increased parental self-efficacy, identified that informal and formal supports contribute to both high and low perceptions of parental self-efficacy, and that mothers' meaning and perception of experiences significantly influenced parental self-efficacy. Implications of these findings extend to future research as well as educational and social policy to better meet the needs of mothers with low-income and support them in their role as parents.