Parental Empowerment: Construct Validity and Reliability of a Dutch Empowerment Questionnaire

In this study, the construct validity and reliability of the Empowerment questionnaire (EMPO) that was developed in Dutch youth care was examined. The 12-item EMPO focuses on measuring parental empowerment in raising their children. The three components of psychological empowerment (intrapersonal, interactional, and behavioral) form the rationale for the EMPO. Non-clinical (n = 673) and clinical (n = 1,212) data were used. Construct validity was tested by the factorial structure, measurement invariance, correlations with other instruments (PSQ-S and SDQ), and empowerment differences between the two groups. Reliability was determined by testing the internal consistency and test-retest reliability. The results show that the factorial validity of the EMPO was sufficient to good, the EMPO was measurement invariant for various subgroups, and the EMPO scales were negatively correlated with parenting stress (PSQ-S) and child behavioral problems scales (SDQ). Furthermore, the clinical group was less empowered, and the correlation between parental empowerment and child behavioral problems was stronger in this group. In addition, both groups of parents had relatively high scores on the interactional component. In the clinical group, however, parental scores on the interactional component were less correlated with scores on the intrapersonal and behavioral components. Finally, reliability analyses showed a largely sufficient to good internal consistency and test-retest reliability. The EMPO seems to be an instrument with sufficient to good construct validity and reliability. Further research is recommended regarding the underlying assumptions, other aspects of validity, representativeness, and the way it should be used as a tool by professionals for supporting parental empowerment.

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