Graduation Year


Document Type


Degree Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy


Background: Research focused on the “unexpected parent” is limited. This population of parent is increasing in frequency.

Purpose: The purpose of this capstone study was to provide support to unexpected parents. The study focused on the area of establishing and maintaining routines and consistency as a means to decrease negative behavior in order to improve parental selfefficacy. With improved skills and perceived improved abilities, the aim of this study was to improve this performance of this group of parents during their participation in the occupation of parenting.

Theoretical Framework. The theory driving this research is the occupation-based model called the Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and Engagement (CMOP-E).

Methods. This quantitative study analyzed the parental self-efficacy of a group of “unexpected parents” utilizing the Tool to Measure Parenting Self Efficacy (TOPSE). Self-efficacy was measured before and after the implementation of a routines-based parenting group. Seven participants met the inclusion criteria and participated in the fourweek group. The objective of this study was to determine if participation in a routinesbased parenting education group would increase parental self-efficacy in a group of “unexpected parents”.

Results. Six out of seven participants increased in parental self-efficacy scores from pretest to post-test. A paired sample t-test analysis compared mean scores from pre-test to post-test and found a p-value = 0.009.

Conclusions: Based on the results of this study, participation in a routines-based parenting group increases parental self-efficacy of “unexpected parents” as measured by the TOPSE. The findings of this study suggest that an occupational therapist led, routines-based parenting group incorporating peer support, activities, and education can lead to increased perceived self-efficacy among a group of “unexpected parents”.

Faculty Mentor

Geela Spira

Department Affiliation

Occupational Therapy

Committee Member

Leslie J. Hardman

Department Affiliation

Occupational Therapy


I would like to convey my appreciation to my research mentor, Dr. Geela Spira. She supported me during this whole process with continuous guidance, encouragement, gentle pushing, and helpful critiques of my research. Dr. Spira was able to assist in focusing me and keeping me in a forward moving direction. I would also like to thank Dr. Leslie Hardman for her advice and time spent during my capstone experience.

I would also like to thank the participants that took part in this study. They were willing to give up time with their children in order to attend the groups and participate in this study.

I would like to thank my mom, Lisa Arbogast, for all her support and encouragement during this process. Without her support, I could not have finished. Also, I would like to thank her for watching my children and picking them up from daycare so that I would work on school. I would like to thank my dad and stepmom for their support.

Finally, I would like to thank God for his continued presence in my life. Without him, I could not have completed this program.

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)