Document Type


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Journal Title

Journal of Child and Family Studies

Publication Date



Intensive mothering (IM) attitudes have been considered the dominant discourse of motherhood, but have only been assessed qualitatively The goal of this study was to develop a quantitative scale to assess these ideologies, their construct validity, and their relationship to relevant constructs (i.e., work status and division of household labor). An on-line questionnaire was given to 595 mothers asking 56 questions assessing different aspects of IM attitudes as well as several validation measures. An Exploratory Factor Analysis on 315 randomly selected mothers yielded a 5 factor solution. A Confirmatory Factor Analysis on the remaining 280 mothers demonstrated good fit. The five factors expressed the ideas that 1) women are inherently better at parenting than men (Essentialism), 2) parenting should be fulfilling (Fulfillment), 3) children should be cognitively stimulated by parents (Stimulation), 4) mothering is difficult (Challenging), and 5) parents should prioritize the needs of the child (Child-Centered). Scales had adequate reliability and construct validity compared to the Parental Investment in Child scale, the Parenting Sense of Competence Scale, and Beliefs about Maternal Employment. The Essentialism, Fulfillment, and Challenging scales were positively related to having more responsibility for childcare and household chores. Stay-at-home mothers had higher scores on Essentialism and lower scores on Stimulation than both part-time and full-time working mothers supporting the notion that both working and non-working mothers have intensive parenting ideologies that are manifested in different ways.

Publisher Statement

This is a pre-print of an article published in Journal of Child and Family Studies. The final authenticated version is available online at:

Full citation:

Liss, M., Schiffrin, H.H., Mackintosh, V.H. et al. J Child Fam Stud (2013) 22: 621.

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