Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 656–667 | Cite as

Portuguese Version of the Parent Cognition Scale (PCS): Measuring Parental Attributions About Children’s Misbehavior

  • Mariana FernandesEmail author
  • Isabel Narciso
  • Marta Pedro
  • Magda Sofia Roberto
Original Paper



The Parent Cognition Scale (PCS) is a self-report measure that assesses the level of dysfunction in parental attributional style, regarding child-responsible and parent-causal attributions for their children’s misbehavior. This study aims to validate the PCS to the Portuguese context and to examine the factorial structure of this instrument.


The PCS is composed of 30 items and organized in 2 subscales: dysfunctional child-responsible and dysfunctional parent-causal attributions. Using a convenience sampling strategy, data were collected from 445 participants (317 mothers and 128 fathers) with children aged 3–12 years.


Results replicated the original structure of the scale and indicated an acceptable fit of the first order model, allowing the use of the 2 subscales. The final scale demonstrated an invariance across parents’ gender and economic and social situation. Good levels of internal consistency indicated that the scale is an appropriate measure.


The Portuguese version of the instrument is suitable for mothers and fathers within distinct economic and social situations. Some relevant contributions of the present study are highlighted, namely the need of studying and assessing parental attributions in clinical samples and particularly with at-risk parents within economic and social disadvantage contexts.


Parent cognition Dysfunctional child-responsible attributions Dysfunctional parent-causal attributions Children’s adjustment Self-report measure 



The authors would like to sincerely thank all the families who took part in this study.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization: M.F., I.N., M.P. Methodology: M.F., I.N., M.P., M.S.R. Supervision: I.N., M.P., M.S.R. Preparation of the original draft: M.F. Review and editing of the manuscript: M.F., I.N., M.P., M.S.R.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Faculty of Psychology (Lisbon University) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Participants gave written consent; it included detailed information about the study’s aims and procedures, the confidentiality and anonymity of the answers.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CICPSI, Faculdade de PsicologiaUniversidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal

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