Foster Parents' Beliefs about Relationship Formation with Adolescents: Scale Development and Initial Evaluation
A new measure of foster parents' beliefs about relationship formation with adolescent foster youth was developed in this two-part study. First, scale items were developed through consultation with foster care experts and review of past qualitative research with foster parents. Second, the psychometric properties of the new measure were tested with a sample of 134 foster parents who currently had a foster child between the ages of 11 and 17 years in their care. Data were gathered through an anonymous online survey. An exploratory factory analysis was used to determine the scale's underlying structure. The Beliefs about Foster Parenting Scale (BFPS) is comprised of four subscales: (1) emotional connection, (2) understanding the child, (3) reasons for misbehavior, and (4) flexible commitment. The emotional connection subscale measures foster parents' beliefs about how quickly and easily a close foster parent-child relationship can develop. The understanding the child subscale measures foster parents' beliefs about how thoroughly they can understand and resolve foster youth problems. The reasons for misbehavior subscale measures foster parents' generalized beliefs about the reasons for foster youth misbehavior. The flexible commitment subscale measures foster parents' beliefs about the importance of monitoring and tending to their own health and well-being. The subscales demonstrated good internal consistency, reliability, and relationships with other measures of parenting behaviors, providing support for their construct validity. The BFPS represents a potentially useful tool for developing a better understanding of foster parents' experiences in caring for foster youth and for improving training and support programs for foster parents.
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