Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Meredith Elzy

Second Advisor

Maureen Carrigan

Third Advisor

Keri Weed


Ajzen’s theory of planned behavior (TPB) evaluates attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control toward a specific behavior as a way to predict intentions to perform a given behavior. Increase in intentions is said to increase the accuracy of predictions of the actual performance of that behavior. The theory has received considerable support and has been used to predict a wide array of behaviors. In the present study, the MyVirtualChild© program was used to examine positive parenting practices through the TPB constructs. Twenty-two participants completed the study and were randomly assigned to the experimental (n = 12) or control group (n = 10). Both groups completed pre- and post-test questionnaires, and their responses were compared to examine differences between the experimental and control group at post-test. Results indicated that there were no significant differences between pre- and post-test scores in the TPB variables (attitudes, subjective norm, perceived behavior control and intentions) for both groups and there were no significant differences between the scores of the two groups on the post-test TPB variables. However, significant differences were found between the pre- and posttest scores on the Child Development Knowledge questionnaire, with the experimental group scoring higher than the control group. Regression analyses also revealed that child development knowledge was the most significant predictor of post-test intention scores. These findings might suggest that increased knowledge of child development may have an influence on intentions to engage in positive parenting behaviors and could be a target for parenting interventions.