In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Parenting Skills and Capacity

  • Introduction
  • Textbooks
  • Journals
  • Databases
  • Development
  • Theories
  • Policy and Practice Statements

Public Health Parenting Skills and Capacity
Maria Isabel Loureiro, Ana Rita Goes
  • LAST REVIEWED: 14 October 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 February 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0053


Parenting has a strong impact on a child’s health and well-being. The rising incidence of developmental and behavioral problems among children attests to some children’s and families’ inability to cope appropriately with the increasing stresses in their lives and their need for assistance. Researchers and professionals from different areas are called to intervene for parenting support. Acknowledging the impacts of parenting on children’s health and well-being, the ways in which parenting affects children’s health and well-being, the determinants of parenting, and the characteristics of competent parenting are essential to develop and implement effective parenting programs. This bibliography provides references that will assist students, researchers, and practitioners in the understanding of these different topics and in the identification of effective interventions. In this bibliography the term “parents” is used to include all those who provide significant care for children in a home or family context, including biological parents and other important groups of primary caregivers. The term “parenting” involves the complex process of bidirectional relationships between parents and their offspring and includes the vast array of tasks, actions, and responsibilities that parents may undertake to answer to children’s needs and to contribute to their children’s health, development, and well-being (e.g., caring for physical needs and protection, playing, disciplining, teaching, establishing a pleasant and stimulating environment). The research and theorization on bonding and attachment is not specifically approached in this bibliography, as it is the single focus of another entry.


The role of parents in the development of their children has been widely discussed in child development manuals such as Damon and Lerner 2006. Child intervention textbooks, such as Shonkoff and Meisels 2000, also explore this issue. The specific domain of parenting is receiving a lot of attention from editors, originating textbooks, and whole collections under the broad issue of parenting, such as Bornstein 2002, Brooks 2008, and Hoghughi and Long 2004. Dwivedi 1997 provides practical information for professionals working with parenting issues.

  • Bornstein, M. H., ed. 2002. Handbook of parenting. 2d ed. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

    The handbook covers extensive literature about parenting, including parenting children at different developmental stages and from common and special groups; the biology and socioecology of parenting; parenting in different circumstances; individual and contextual factors affecting parenting; the impact of parenting on children; developments and challenges on parenting research; and practical issues.

  • Brooks, Jane. 2008. The process of parenting. 7th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

    This comprehensive introduction to parenting is suitable for students, instructors, and professionals working with parents. It takes a developmental perspective and combines attention to theory and research with their application to practical parenting issues. It explores general issues of parenting, approaches parenting across developmental stages, and discusses parenting challenges.

  • Damon, W., and R. M. Lerner, eds. 2006. Handbook of child psychology. 6th ed. 4 vols. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

    Within this handbook, theoretical approaches considering the parental role in child development are reviewed (Vol. 1) as well as research about the contextual influences implied (Vol. 2 and Vol. 3). Volume 4 approaches applied development and addresses the way in which research can inform those working with children, their families, and caretakers.

  • Dwivedi, K. N., ed., 1997. Enhancing parenting skills: A guide for professionals working with parents. Chichester and New York: Wiley.

    This book is suitable for professionals dealing with parenting issues. It contextualizes parenting in historical, socioeconomic, , gender-related, and ethno-cultural terms. The process of parenting assessment is described. Practical aspects of setting up parenting programs are discussed. The final chapters approach helping parents in specific situations: hyperactivity, stepfamily, and gifted and disabled children.

  • Hoghughi, M., and N. Long, eds. 2004. Handbook of parenting: theory and research for practice. London and Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

    The SAGE Handbook of Parenting is primarily concerned with considering theory and research evidence as a basis for practice rather than research, including fundamental topics on parenting research: parental influences on child development and adjustment; impact of parenting on child’s health, development, and behavior; determinants of parenting; parent support.

  • Shonkoff, Jack P., and Samuel J. Meisels, eds. 2000. Handbook of early childhood intervention. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

    This handbook brings together the current status and future directions of the field. It explores the contributions of parents for child development and well-being as well as theoretical frameworks for intervention. The importance of targeting families in early childhood interventions is extensively discussed.

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