Parenting Sense of Competence (PSOC)

Screen Shot 2013-02-13 at 9.58.22 PMThe Parenting Sense of Competence scale measures parental competence on two dimensions: Satisfaction and Efficacy. It is a 16 item Likert-scale questionnaire (on a 6 point scale ranging from strongly agree [1] to strongly disagree [6]), with nine questions under Satisfaction and seven under Efficacy. Satisfaction section examines the parents’ anxiety, motivation and frustration, while the Efficacy section looks at the parents’ competence, capability levels, and problem-solving abilities in their parental role.




The scale can also be a 17-point scale, as seen here (although as a 16-point scale, the last question isn’t used).

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 9.01.47 PM



The scoring for the 17-point scale is found here.

Some citation references for this scale are:

Johnston, C., & Mash, E. J. (1989). A measure of parenting satisfaction and efficacy. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 18(2), 167-175. (who cite Gilbaud-Wallston & Wanderson, 1978).

Ohan, J. L., Leung, D. W., & Johnston, C. (2000). The Parenting Sense of Competence Scale: Evidence of a stable factor structure and validity. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue canadienne des Sciences du comportement, 32(4), 251-261.

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9 thoughts on “Parenting Sense of Competence (PSOC)”

  1. Hi Michael,
    I am also about to commence PhD Studies in parenting, so it would be great to keep in touch. I am a Psychologist, and Lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia.
    On a practical note, i am looking at different measures and am interested in the PSOC, which I notice you have commented on above. Can you point in the right direction as to where I can obtain a copy and the scoring key?

  2. Good day!

    We are 4th year BS Psychology students from Pamantasan ng Cabuyao, which is located at Cabuyao, Laguna, Philippines. In partial fulfillment for our course, we are required to conduct and make an undergraduate research paper. Our study is about “The Influence of Domestic Violence on the Parental Effectiveness of Selected Rescued Victims of SAGIP Crisis Center in Muntinlupa City.”

    In connection with this, we are humbly asking for your permission to let us use the Parenting Sense of Competence Scale (PSOC). It would be of great help if you could grant our request. We assure you that you will be given proper credit in our study. We would also like to inquire about the scoring and scales of the said test.

    We are hoping for your kind consideration.

    Thank you!

    Sincerely yours,

    Marianne Joy A. Ilao
    Group Representative

    1. Hi Marianne Joy A. Ilao,

      Congratulations on getting close to finishing your bachelor’s degree!

      As to your email–I don’t own PSOC. In fact, I have nothing to do with its creation or in owning any part of it. I just use it in my own research, much like, it seems, you would like to do also.

      I believe it was a researcher named Dr Johnston (and colleagues) who created the PSOC.

      In my blog post I gave a couple of citations, so you can look up those articles to read more about the PSOC and how it’s used.

      Also the scoring sheet, as well as the scale itself were forms that I found on the internet (on other websites). So I am not the person to ask for permission to use it.

      In fact, I’m not sure if you have to ask anyone’s permission to use it or if you can just use it on your own freely.

      So you may look up the creators of the PSOC and ask them about permissions (and if you need them or not) or try to do more searching online to see if there’s a website that talks about the permission to use PSOC (it may be free to use, but may not be…I’m honestly not sure).

      Best of luck with your research!

    1. Hi William,

      Sorry for the delay.

      There are norms for the PSOC. You can try to find them in Johnston and Mash (1989).

      But the normative community sample is:

      Total Score: 62.48 (SD = 9.72)
      Mothers’ Total Score: 64.19 (SD = 10.48)
      Fathers’ Total Score: 64.61 to 65.91 (SD = 8.98; 8.44)

      Average Satisfaction for Mothers: 37.40 (6.60) to 38.76 (5.87)
      Average Satisfaction for Fathers: 39.20 (5.62) to 40.47 (5.72)

      Average Efficacy for Mothers: 24.79 (5.79) to 25.69 (6.61)
      Average Efficacy for Fathers: 24.95 (4.99) to 25.77 (5.29)

    1. Hi Jeremy,

      Sorry it took a while to respond. Had to defend my thesis.

      You’re exactly right though–the version of the PSOC that I used has the scale going in the direction you outlined–where 1 is strongly agree to 6 which is strongly disagree.

      This version of the PSOC I just found online (I didn’t want to post my version because I didn’t know about the legal rules).

      However, anyone could still use this scale and just invert the numbers when adding up the total.

  3. Hi,
    Any chance of telling me which items are on the satisfaction loading and which items are on the efficacy loading?
    Cant seem to find that information.
    Kind regards,

    1. Hi Kerrie,

      The questions referring to the satisfaction subscale are: 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 14, and 16.

      The questions referring to the efficacy subscale are: 1, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, and 15.

      In the version I’ve posted here, they apparently added in item 17. To my knowledge that isn’t used on the PSOC, and we certainly haven’t ever used it.

      It may also be of note that in the scale I used, a 1 is strongly agree to 6 is strongly disagree (so reversed scoring from the posted PSOC). Having said that, when using the scale in this way, where 1 = strongly agree, then there is reversed scoring for the efficacy scale, where a 1 = 6, 2 = 5, 3 = 4, 4 = 3, 5 = 2, and 6 = 1.

      However, if you use the scale I posted in this blog post, then it would just be the satisfaction scale that would need to be reverse scoring (since the scales are already “reverse scored” in this posted version).

      Hope that helps.


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