Early Parental Support in Child Healthcare Parental groups - a challenge in a changing society

Åsa Lefevre

Research output: ThesisLicentiate Thesis

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Ninety-nine per cent of all parents visit child healthcare centres (CHCs) and
all parents in Sweden are invited to parental groups organized by the child
health service (CHS) during their child’s first year, but only 40% choose to
attend. The overall aim of this thesis was to elucidate the group-based early
parental support provided by the Swedish CHS from the perspective of CHC
nurses and parents. A total of 156 CHC nurses from 31 of 33 municipalities
(Paper I) and 143 parents from 71 different parental groups at 27 CHCs
(Paper II) in one Swedish county completed two different online questionnaires
about their experiences of the parental groups provided by the CHS.

The findings showed that almost all CHC nurses managed several parental
groups for both first-time parents and parents with more than one child.
Specialized parental groups, e.g. groups for single parents, parents of twins
and parents with a foreign background, were managed by half of the nurses
and were more common at those CHCs organized as family centres. The
nurses defined parental groups primarily as a place where parents could
connect and create a network and secondarily as a place for education.
Parents reported that the meetings were meaningful and felt that their role as
parents was strengthened due to the parental groups. More than half of the
parents had met someone who they socialized with outside of the meetings.
Many of the topics addressed in the parental groups were found to be
important by both the CHC nurses and the parents, but the parents desired a
greater focus on topics such as parenting, child-related community
information and sex and relationships. CHC nurses were found to be
knowledgeable, committed and well-prepared, and parents felt that they
could express their opinion and talk to the other parents as much as they
wanted. The nurses however, felt that group leadership was a difficult and
challenging task and expressed a need for education in group dynamics and
group leadership.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Faculty of Medicine
  • Kristensson Hallström, Inger, Supervisor
  • Lundqvist, Pia, Supervisor
  • Drevenhorn, Eva, Supervisor
Award date2014 Feb 28
Place of PublicationLund
Print ISBNs978-91-87651-59-5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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