Family Relationships, Social Support, and Parenting Self-Efficacy in Young Adulthood 

Ann Marie Valenzuela 
Department of Psychology 
California State University, Los Angeles


 This self-report study examined relations between features of the parental marital relationship (the experience of divorce and recollections of parental marital conflict), the quality of relationships with parents in young adulthood, and young adults’ reports of general and parenting self-efficacy. Several hypotheses were made: In support of H1, correlations indicated that for all participants, recollections of parental conflict were significantly related to both general and parenting self-efficacy with greater conflict associated with lower self-efficacy. Recollections of parental marital conflict were also related to reports of quality of relationships with each parent, with greater conflict associated with significantly lower affective quality of relationships with mothers and fathers, lower independence facilitated by mothers and by fathers, and lower emotional support received from fathers. In support of H2, results indicated that general self-efficacy was related to quality of relationships with parents, with higher affective quality, greater emotional support, and greater independence facilitated by both parents related to significantly higher general self-efficacy. Also in support of H2, higher affective quality and greater emotional support received in relationships with both parents were related to significantly higher parenting self-efficacy.  Results also indicated a significant positive relationship between satisfaction with social support and general self-efficacy, in partial support of H3; numbers of social supports and satisfaction with support were not related to parenting self-efficacy. Regarding H4, while the desire to have children in the future was not significantly related to recollections of parental conflict or to social support, higher quality relationships with mothers were related to a desire to have children in the future, especially greater affective quality of relationships and independence facilitated by mothers (marginally so). Quality of relationships with fathers was not related to the desire to have children. Finally, H5 was confirmed, with higher parenting self-efficacy significantly related to a desire to have children in the future. The results of the current study indicated that features of the parental marital relationship and the quality of relationships with parents in young adulthood are related to individuals beliefs about self-competence and ability to master tasks, both in general and in terms of being an effective parent in the future.