, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 636–644 | Cite as

The Association Between Dispositional Mindfulness and Management Self-Efficacy Among Early Childhood Education Managers in Head Start

  • Brandon D. Becker
  • Robert C. Whitaker


Head Start is a federally-funded early childhood education program whose primary goal is to increase school readiness for low-income children less than 5 years of age. Managers in Head Start programs have stressful jobs. They must adhere to complex federal program performance standards while addressing the needs of their staff, who work with children and families facing stressful social circumstances. Dispositional mindfulness is associated with greater self-efficacy in the face of challenges, but there are no data on the association between dispositional mindfulness and management self-efficacy among leaders of early childhood education programs. In 2012, the Pennsylvania Head Start Staff Wellness Survey, an anonymous, web-based survey, was administered to managers in 66 Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Pennsylvania. For 480 of the 552 (87%) managers in these programs, data were available on their levels of dispositional mindfulness (Cognitive and Affective Mindfulness Scale-Revised) and management self-efficacy (Principal Self-Efficacy Scale). After adjustment, a 1 SD higher mindfulness score was associated with a 0.41 SD (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.31 to 0.51) higher management self-efficacy score (p < .001). Managers in the highest versus lowest quartile of dispositional mindfulness had a 1.05 SD (95% CI, 0.79 to 1.30) higher management self-efficacy score, after adjustment (p < .001). Managers in Head Start and Early Head Start who had higher levels of dispositional mindfulness reported greater management self-efficacy. Interventions to promote mindfulness among leaders of early childhood education programs may be one approach to improve their management self-efficacy and promote effective leadership.


Head Start Mindfulness Management self-efficacy Educational leadership Early childhood education 



We thank all the Head Start and Early Head Start staff who completed the survey and the Pennsylvania Head Start Association for assisting with the recruitment of the Head Start and Early Head Start programs that participated in the study. We also thank David F. Tucker for his technical assistance on the web-based survey design; Rachel A. Gooze, PhD, MPH for her assistance with data collection; and Chantelle N. Hart, PhD, Jay S. Fagan, PhD, Kathleen C. Gallagher, PhD, and Robert Kramer, MFA for their helpful suggestions on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

This work was supported, in part, through a University Fellowship to Rachel A. Gooze from the Graduate School at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Temple University had no role in the design and conduct of the study; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data; or in the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

Author Contributions

BB designed and executed the study, conducted the data analyses, and drafted the paper. RW contributed to the design, analysis of the data, and writing the paper.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethics Statement

This study was approved by the institutional review board at Temple University. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social and Behavioral Health Science, College of Public HealthTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public HealthTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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