Someone to talk to: young mothers’ experiences of participating in a young parents support programme

Authors

  • Annie Mills PhD, MPH, BA,

    (Senior Research Associate)
    1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, NSW, Australia
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  • Virginia Schmied PhD, RM,

    (Professor of Maternal Infant and Family Health)
    1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, NSW, Australia
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  • Christine Taylor PhD RN,

    (Senior Lecturer)
    1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, NSW, Australia
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  • Hannah Dahlen PhD, RM,

    (Associate Professor of Midwifery)
    1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, NSW, Australia
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  • Wies Shuiringa BSocWk, BEd,

    (Manager)
    1. First Five Years Programme, Personal Helpers and Mentors Programme, The Benevolent Society, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • Margaret E. Hudson B. Couns

    (Team Leader/Coordinator)
    1. First Five Years Programme, Personal Helpers and Mentors Programme, The Benevolent Society, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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Virginia Schmied, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia.
E-mail: v.schmied@uws.edu.au

Abstract

Aims:  To identify young parents’ perceptions and experiences of a parenting support programme, run by a non-government organisation, which provided both community group-based, and one-on-one home visiting, support.

Study Design:  A qualitative descriptive study was conducted in one of the most socio-economically disadvantaged areas of Sydney, NSW; this is also an area with one of the highest percentage of births among young parents. Young parents were eligible to participate whether they attended one of the parenting groups and/or received professional home visiting through the young parents programme. Eighteen young women were interviewed, and a further ten participated in a focus group. Thematic analysis of the focus groups and interviews was undertaken.

Findings:  Four themes were identified in the analysis: ‘someone I know and trust’, ‘we just talk about anything and everything’, ‘doing the personal’ and ‘getting out and relaxing’. These themes were linked through the common thread of relationships; the relationships between themselves and other young mothers, and with the workers on the programme. The characteristics of the person with whom they had a relationship, the type of relationship, the content of their interactions and the benefits of these relationships were all important.

Conclusions:  This study is limited by the small sample size and the ‘low risk’ status of the young parents who engaged in the programme. This study demonstrated not only the importance for young parents of all forms of interaction, whether it is one-on-one, in a group or social networking; but most importantly, the benefits of having someone to talk to.

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