The Brief Parental Self Efficacy Scale (BPSES) is a short, 5-item measure of parental self-efficacy that can be completed by parents or carers of children and young people.

Parental self-efficacy (PSE) “describes a parent's belief in their ability to perform the parenting role successfully. Higher levels of PSE have consistently been shown to be correlated with a wide range of parenting and child outcomes. Consequently, many parenting interventions aim to improve PSE”. (Wittkowski et al., 2017, p.1)

Scores on the BPSES can be used to measure change over time in PSE, such as pre and post intervention and to initiate explorative conversations (see Other Resources for more information).

Terms of use

The BPSES is free to use. It is also one of the measures covered by the NHS Digital Copyright Licensing Service.



We are not currently aware of any evidence regarding the accessibility of this measure for parents or carers with learning disabilities.

To our knowledge no study has been published regarding the suitability of the measure across different ethnic or linguistic groups.

Please do get in touch at CORC@annafreud.org if you are aware of any information that may be of interest to users of the measure as we may be able to update our webpage to include it.


The questionnaire takes between five and ten minutes to administer and can be administered by a range of professionals with or without clinical expertise, including social workers, family and community workers.

Attention should be made to how the questionnaire is introduced and explained to parents to avoid feelings of judgement or shame.

While there are no available guidelines or data for clinical cut-off ratings, scores can be used to measure change over time, such as pre and post intervention and to initiate explorative conversations (see Other Resources for more information).

Working remotely

An electronically editable version of the PDF can be downloaded here.

If you work remotely with your service user and have access to the PDF version of the questionnaire:

  • The free Adobe Acrobat Reader does have commenting tools that allow you to add, circle or highlight text and then save the PDF with these 'comments'.
  • If you are a practitioner going through the questionnaire verbally online and can share screen, we feel it works well for the child or young person to be able to see you edit the questionnaire as you go through it.
  • The questionnaire can also be edited this way at the service user’s end, although do experiment with this yourself to check its suitability for those you work with - not everyone will find this equally user-friendly and practice or advice may help.

For more information of working remotely with outcome measures, please read our guide here.

Scoring & Interpretation

Responses to the five questionnaire items are coded as follows:

Strongly disagree = 1

Disagree = 2

Neutral = 3

Agree = 4

Strongly agree = 5

A total score is then calculated by summing all five items, and ranges from 5 to 25. Higher scores indicate higher levels of parental self-efficacy.

Psychometric properties




Internal consistency

Degree to which similar items within a scale correlate with each other.

The BPSES has been found to demonstrate a satisfactory level of internal consistency, as determined by a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.75 (Woolgar et al., 2023).

Construct validity

Degree to which the questionnaire actually measures the specific trait or attribute it is intended to measure.

A confirmatory factor analysis found that a single factor structure comprising five items of the BPSES (1,4,5,8 and 9) showed a reasonable fit to the data, indicating this reduced set of questions may better represent the underlying construct of parental self-efficacy (Woolgar et al., 2023).

Test-retest reliability

Degree to which the same respondents have the same score after period of time when trait shouldn't have changed.

The BPSES has been found to have good test-retest reliability, particularly high over 6- and 12-week intervals (r = 0.73 and 0.78, respectively) (Woolgar et al., 2023).

Concurrent validity

Correlation of the measure with others measuring same concept.

The BPSES has been found to have a moderate positive relationship with a well-established measure of parental self-efficacy (PSOC) (r = 0.46) (Woolgar et al., 2023).

Discriminant validity

Lack of correlation with opposite concepts.

No evidence is currently available.


CORC is not aware of any translations for this measure. Please contact the developer of the measure (Matt Woolgar, matt.woolgar@kcl.ac.uk) to help you with this inquiry.

Other resources

Below is a selection of papers that describe how the BPSES was used to monitor and report change in parental self-efficacy for their respective interventions:

Burch, K., Backinsell, A., Coombes, L., Daru, J., & Halford, E. (2021). Evaluation of the Adoption Support Fund: baseline survey of families. Department for Education, London.

Inchausti, F., Velázquez‐Basterra, G., Fonseca‐Pedrero, E., MacBeth, A., Popolo, R., & Dimaggio, G. (2022). Metacognitive interpersonal group therapy for adolescents with avoidant personality disorder: The case of Sofia. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 78(8), 1579-1589.

Lewis, M., Stirk, S., Collie, H., Ansbro, Y., Johnson, R., Karyofylli, A., ... & Erin, L. (2022). Nurturing attachments group: A virtual group intervention for adults caring for traumatised children in the context of COVID-19. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry27(1), 214-227.

Midgley, N., Alayza, A., Lawrence, H., & Bellew, R. (2018). Adopting Minds—a mentalization-based therapy for families in a post-adoption support service: preliminary evaluation and service user experience. Adoption & Fostering, 42(1), 22-37.

Staines, J., Golding, K., & Selwyn, J. (2019). Nurturing attachments parenting program: The relationship between adopters’ parental reflective functioning and perception of their children’s difficulties. Developmental Child Welfare, 1(2), 143-158.


Woolgar, M., Humayun, S., Scott, S., & Dadds, M. R. (2023). I know what to do; I can do it; it will work: the Brief Parental Self Efficacy Scale (BPSES) for parenting interventions. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 1-10.

Wittkowski, A., Garrett, C., Calam, R., & Weisberg, D. (2017). Self-report measures of parental self-efficacy: A systematic review of the current literature. Journal of child and family studies, 26, 2960-2978.

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