The parent role as viewed by school psychologists: Understanding and communicating the concept

Mariana Nunes Pedro, Pace University


The idea of being a parent seems inherently easy and natural. The definition of the parent role would seem equally easy. Within psychology, however, this is not the case. Currently, there is no theory of what the parent role is, and what being a parent means. The Parent Role Development Model (PRDM), developed and explored by Mowder (1991) proposes a definition and theory of the parent role. The concept includes characteristics of bonding, discipline, education, protection and general welfare, responsivity, and sensitivity. These characteristics are supported by existing literature, and have been substantiated by research exploring the PRDM. The model is also one which proposes developmental change in the importance and frequency of these characteristics over the lifespan of the child from birth to adulthood. The current research explores the parent role in an effort to further understand the concept so that it can be communicated to school psychologists, and thus to parents themselves, in the form of service delivery. This would provide a common understanding between professionals and the parents of the children with whom they work, regarding what the parent role means. School psychologists in a northeastern state were used as subjects in the current research. The group was administered the Parent Role Questionnaire (PRQ) (Mowder, 1991a) which has been developed to explore the parent role through the characteristics listed above, and across the developmental stages of life. The research questions posed were intended to define the parent role, as reported by school psychologists via the PRQ. This study is an effort to help professionals form their own base of knowledge when attempting to communicate with parents of the children with whom they work. Results suggest that the respondents define a parent role which incorporates the characteristics defined by the PRDM. Developmental trends were also identified. It is hoped that the information revealed by this study can be disseminated to other school psychologists so that they, in turn, can use this information in understanding the parents with whom they work. Working with a child's parents is essential to successful intervention with any child. This research should help the field of school psychology to understand parents as a component in a child's environment.

Subject Area

Psychotherapy|Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Pedro, Mariana Nunes, "The parent role as viewed by school psychologists: Understanding and communicating the concept" (1994). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9412976.



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