The extent to which children engage in nature-related activities is highly influenced by their parents. Some parents, however, may not feel competent in engaging their children with nature. This lack of parental self-efficacy may limit children's opportunities for engaging with nature. This study was based on the understanding that an awareness of parental self-efficacy related to nature connectedness may be helpful to researchers, policy makers, and organizations working to increase children's engagement with nature. This study thus aimed to develop and validate a measure of parental self-efficacy related to nature connectedness.
The study was conducted in two phases, with Phase 1 focusing on item generation and selection and Phase 2 on reliability and validity testing. Item generation was based on a review of the literature and two focus group discussions -- one involving 7 experts; the other, 8 parents. Questions addressed during the focus groups asked about places promoting connectedness to nature and factors impacting parents' ability to engage children in nature. Phase 2 included (a) pilot testing an initial pool of questions with 154 parents and (b) full psychometric testing of a reduced set of questions with 362 parents. The final measure (Nature Connectedness Parental Self-Efficacy scale) consisted of 22 items divided into four subscales: Accessing Nature, Communicating about Nature, Overcoming Personal Barriers, and Overcoming Situational Barriers. The validity of NCPSE was tested using the Generalised Self-Efficacy Scale, Nature Connectedness Index, and the WHO-5 wellbeing measure.
Reliability testing indicates that the NCPSE has very good to excellent internal consistency as a whole and for each of its subscales. This consistency remained stable over time. Validity testing showed that greater Nature Connectedness Parental Self-Efficacy related to greater General Self-Efficacy and Nature Connectedness. These results indicate that NCPSE measures what it was designed to measure, that is, parental self-efficacy related to nature connectedness. Results also showed a significant correlation between the total NCPSE score and the WHO-5, which indicates that greater NCPSE is associated with greater parental well-being. NCPSE scores were also significantly correlated with the age of the parent and average number of visits parents made to natural spaces either by themselves or with their families. Older parents generally scored higher on NCPSE than younger parents.
The evidence presented in this study indicates that the NCPSE is a reliable and valid measure of parental self-efficacy related to nature connectedness. “The NCPSE can now be used by professionals who wish to understand the impact parental competence has upon engaging their families in nature.” Researchers, policy makers, and organizations might also find NCPSE useful in developing and evaluating initiatives designed to promote families' connectedness to and engagement with nature.