Motivational Beliefs of Parents Involved in Ottawa’s Healthy Active Schools

Title: Motivational Beliefs of Parents Involved in Ottawa’s Healthy Active Schools
Authors: Jackson, Sarah
Date: 2011
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine parents’ motivational beliefs for involvement in a Comprehensive School Health approach (locally called Healthy Active Schools, or HAS) at their child’s school. Literature suggests that parents’ role construction and parents’ self-efficacy are the most salient influences on parents’ decision to become involved at their child’s school. Twelve parents involved at two urban public elementary schools were interviewed. Questions were based on Hoover-Dempsey and Sandler’s model of parental involvement (1995, 1997, 2005c). Qualitative multiple case study analysis additionally utilized Penner’s (2002) model of sustained volunteerism and Bandura’s collective efficacy theory (1997, 2000; Goddard, Hoy, & Woolfolk-Hoy, 2004) to clarify findings. Results suggest most parents’ strong active role construction and negative valence grounded their parent-focused role orientation. School case study analysis revealed that the principal’s leadership, the structure of the HAS committee and the school’s climate uniquely influenced parents’ beliefs. Individual parent case analysis revealed four distinct patterns of parents’ motivational beliefs for HAS involvement. Future research is warranted to further examine the decisive impact of parents’ health and prosocial values on their decision to become involved specific to a CSH approach type of involvement. Additional case studies in local schools, school districts and provinces are recommended to illuminate unique contextual influences and the potential for the emergence of collective efficacy; including consideration for parents’ belief construct general invitations from the school would contribute to gaining a deeper understanding within this domain. Finally, the link between parents’ motivational beliefs of empowerment and their sustained motivation for involvement needs to be explored further.
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