Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Tamara J. Williams


Healthy development in the earliest years provides the foundation for adult health, while healthy adults comprise a thriving workforce. Investing in the health of young children is paramount to prevention of chronic diseases in later adulthood. Quality early childhood programs have an opportunity to maximize the healthy development of children by intentionally increasing caregiver self-efficacy as it relates to completing tasks associated with preventive care. The purpose of this exploratory data analysis study was to learn more about the relationship between level of caregiver self-efficacy and their ability to achieve required health and dental outcomes for children enrolled in a Head Start program. Sixty-seven families completed a self-efficacy questionnaire that was specifically focused on parent perception of their ability to navigate health and dental care for their child. Variables such as family demographics (e.g., socio-economic level, parent education level) and the intensity of Head Start services provided to the family were included in data analysis. Results indicated families demonstrated high levels of self-efficacy and most required moderate intervention from Head Start service providers, but there was not a relationship between the two variables. Caregiver proficiency with four specific health and dental outcomes was significantly different from their reported level of self-efficacy. Parents were not achieving proficiency with dental outcomes in particular, despite high levels of self-efficacy. Implications of this research include incorporating the intentional development of caregiver self-efficacy around tasks necessary for preventive health and dental care for children into home-visiting services.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 2019 Kristy Feden.

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