Measuring dysfunctional parenting: Psychometrics of three versions of the Parenting Scale

Abstract Objective: This study assessed the psychometric properties of three versions of the Parenting Scale (PS; original PS, 13-item version, and 10-item version) in three European middle-income countries. Background: The PS is one of the most frequently used questionnaires for measuring dysfunctional discipline strategies. Although its validity has been extensively investigated in American samples, there are mixed results regarding the recommended number of items and subscales, raising the question of replicability across European middle-income countries. Method: Multigroup confirmatory factor analysis (MCFA) and item response theory (IRT) were applied to N = 835 parents from North Macedonia, Moldova, and Romania. Results: All three versions were significantly correlated with parental- and child-related variables. Confirmatory factor analysis indicated the best model fit for the 10-item version, and configural and partial metric invariance across countries could be established for this version. Item response theory analyses also supported this measure. Conclusions: Our findings show that the 10-item version performed better than the 13-item version and the original PS both overall and on the country level. Reliability values were somewhat lower than reported in studies from the United States. Implications: The 10-item version constitutes a promising short measure for assessing dysfunctional parenting in European middle-income countries for researchers and practitioners.