PSYCH  Vol.10 No.15 , December 2019
Nicomachus-Positive Parenting (NPP): Development and Initial Validation of a Parenting Questionnaire within the Positive Psychology Framework
After operationalizing the positive psychology parenting construct, following the model proposed by Seligman in Authentic Happiness, a new questionnaire called NICOMACHUS-Positive Parenting (NPP) was developed and validated. The validation process was completed in three studies. In Study 1 (N = 190) theoretically, relevant items were reduced, refined, and tested resulting in a measure with 20 items. In Studies 2 (N = 621) and 3 (N = 146) the psychometrics of NICOMACHUS were validated and cross-validated respectively. A clear, robust four-factor structure was defined and confirmed with EFA and CFA respectively. Full measurement invariance across the child’s gender was successfully established to the strict level. Internal consistency reliability (α), model-based reliability (ω) and convergent validity at the model level (AVE) were excellent and comparable across methods. Convergent/discriminant validity with 6 parenting measures revealed a highly significant, uniform relationship pattern. In Study 3 the above findings were successfully cross-validated by stable, similar findings. Convergent/discriminant validity with 5 measures of wellbeing and affect also revealed a highly significant, clear relationship pattern. The relationship of NICOMACHUS with demographics was also examined. NICOMACHUS adds to the existing parenting measures, allowing parents to evaluate if their parenting practices follow the principles of Positive Psychology.

1. Introduction

Seligman (2002), meticulously described a model of parenting effectiveness, based on the principles of Positive Psychology. Despite that, to the best of our knowledge, this parenting model received less attention than the rest of the Authentic Happiness model components (2002). To hopefully promote research in this area, a first step would be developing a new measure of Positive Psychology parenting, operationalizing this Authentic Happiness parenting model (Seligman, 2002). Therefore, the purpose of this study is to describe the development and validation of a new measure of Positive Psychology Parenting (Nicomachus-Positive Parenting or NPP).

1.1. Definitions of Terms Used

A Parent is a person with whom a child has a long-term, unique and irreplaceable biological, social and emotional bond (Tobach & Schneirla, 1968; Rohner, Khaleque, & Cournoyer, 2012).

A family is a group of interacting people with a similar intention (Conoley & Conoley, 2009; Conoley, Conoley, & Pontrelli, 2014) or an open system of people (von Bertalanffy, 1976). Family systems are grounded on the General Systems Theory (von Bertalanffy, 1976), suggesting that families are studied more effectively when taking into account member interactions and environmental effects (Whiteman et al., 2011).

Parenting is a bidirectional, biological and social process (Tobach & Schneirla, 1968) between members of at least two generations within a specific cultural context (Ford & Lerner, 1992; Lerner, Rothbaum, Boulos, & Castellino, 2002).

Positive Psychology. Martin Seligman, as APA president announced the Positive Psychology movement on August 21, 1999 (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) for the empirical study of “what makes life worth living” (Peterson, 2013; Seligman, 2011). The purpose of Positive Psychology is to study all factors contributing to human flourishing on both a personal and a community level (Gable & Haidt, 2005; Linley & Joseph, 2015). Positive Psychology brought about a change in the outlook of “psychology as usual” (Seligman & Pawelski, 2003; Hefferon & Boniwell, 2011; Seligman, Railton, Baumeister, & Sripada, 2016) that can also affect parenting practices (Seligman, 2002).

Character strengths are a sub-category of personality attributes having moral value, e.g. politeness as opposed to introversion which has no moral dimension (Peterson & Park, 2009). Fredrickson defines character strengths as habits (Fredrickson, 2009). The most frequently used strengths are called signature strengths (measured with Values in Action Inventory of Strengths, Peterson & Seligman, 2004).

Positive emotions here are used within the Broaden and Built theoretical framework (Fredrickson, 1998, 2001). After two decades of extensive research there is a top-ten of positive emotions: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, fun, inspiration, awe and love (Fredrickson, 2009; Hefferon & Boniwell, 2011).

Well-being is a positive evaluation of one’s own life (Seligman, 2002; Diener & Seligman, 2004), while Ryan & Deci (2001) and Seligman (2002; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) link well-being with optimum experience (Flow; Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) and psychological functioning (Mitchell, Vella-Brodrick, & Klein, 2010).

Flourishing is a state of positive mental health where the person is both feeling well and doing well in personal and social level, free from mental illness (Keyes, 2002; Fredrickson & Losada, 2005; Seligman, 2011).

1.2. The Positive Psychology Parenting and the Model behind NICOMACHUS

For Seligman (2002), parenting offers parents the chance to: 1) Apply the principles of Positive Psychology; 2) Increase the level of positive emotions to the child; 3) Discover strengths and signature strengths and then nurture these signatures strengths; 4) To increase the well-being of the child and the entire family 5) Forge a child’s life around his/her signature strengths as a means of balancing his/her weaknesses and flourishing. According to Seligman (2002), two core elements that enable children to flourish are: 1) positive emotions as described within the Broaden and Build Theory (Fredrickson, 1998, 2001), and 2) the character strengths (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000; Peterson & Seligman, 2004). These are the two pillars of positive psychology parenting (Seligman, 2002). Seligman (2002) implicitly adopts the systemic view on paref109" id="ref109">   Lovejoy, M. C., Weis, R., O’Hare, E., & Rubin, E. C. (1999). Development and Initial Validation of the Parent Behaviour Inventory. Psychological Assessment, 11, 534-545.

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