Journal Article

A Theoretical Model for the Comprehensive Assessment of Parenting

Steve Farnfield

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 38, issue 6, pages 1076-1099
Published in print September 2008 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online February 2007 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
A Theoretical Model for the Comprehensive Assessment of Parenting

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This article proposes a theoretical model for the comprehensive assessment of parenting. While the emphasis throughout is on ‘core’ assessments, made in the context of child maltreatment and substitute care, it is intended as a general theory of parenting or care-giving and hence applicable to a wide variety of professional situations. The model is rooted in attachment theory and evolutionary psychology with an overarching use of systemic thinking. First of all, parenting is located within an ecological framework. Then, the care-giving environment is defined by drawing on the empirical, professional and theoretical literature. Central to this model of the care-giving environment is the separation of core dimensions that are fundamental to parenting behaviour—that is, they are an intrinsic part of the behaviour of all parents—from those which modify parenting ability but cannot be reduced to one of the core or fundamental dimensions. A total of seven dimensions are considered together with some relevant assessment procedures. It is envisaged that further work will produce a manual for this, utilizing a variety of current assessment procedures while retaining a systemic framework for analysis and intervention.

Keywords: assessment of parenting; attachment; child abuse

Journal Article.  8956 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Work

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