Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Mary Anne Bunda

Second Advisor

Dr. Linda Dannison

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield


The purpose of this study was to determine how immediacy to parenthood affects one's perception of what should be learned in a parent education class. Differences were sought among groups of individuals at four levels of immediacy to parenthood on the perceived importance of 11 parenting topics. These topics were Pregnancy and Childbirth, Infancy, Early Childhood, Late Childhood, Adolescence, Health and Safety, Social Issues Related to Parenthood, Family Relations and Communication, Guiding the Behavior of Children, Parenting Patterns, and Career-Related Concerns. In order to determine if there were differences, the data, collected through the use of a parent education questionnaire, were analyzed with a series of one-way analysis of variances. Following the one-way ANOVAs, post hoc analysis was conducted using the Bonferroni method.

Overall significant differences with the ANOVAs were found among the four groups beyond the .10 level of significance on all the parent education topics except Early Childhood. Eight of the 11 hypotheses were significant at the .001 level. Post hoc analysis revealed where the specific differences existed among the groups on each of the variables except Early Childhood with the parent group being most different.

Definite trends were found in how the four groups rated the importance of the topics. One trend was a pattern of decreasing importance of several of the topics as the students approached parenthood, e.g., Pregnancy and Childbirth, Infancy, Health and Safety, and Career-Related Concerns. The other trend followed a modulating pattern of importance ratings among the groups, e.g., Late Childhood, Adolescence, Family Relations and Communication, and Guiding the Behavior of Children. This trend presented low points for the secondary and expectant parent groups and high peaks for the college and parent groups.

The implications of the findings of this study are related to curriculum development at each of the four levels of parent education represented in this study. Recommendations were made for curriculum planning at the four levels of parent education.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access