We recently published a paper that looks at why mothers and fathers attend a parent support program–in this case, Triple P – Positive Parenting Program in the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health (Click here to read the published article).
Most research on this topic looks at parents in general, and some only on mothers. Fathers however come much less often to parent support programs compared to mothers–so we wondered why that might be?
The intervention: The program was offered free-of-charge to all parents in one community in Sweden. We then looked at the background factors of mothers and fathers who attended compared to those who did not attend to see if there were any differences.
Results: Turns out that mothers are much more likely to attend the program if they perceive their child as having behavior problems, while fathers were approaching significance of attending if they perceived their child as having emotional problems.
Future research should look further into various background factors to see how to increase rates of other minority groups, such as those who are not native to the country the program is held in or those parents with less education.
Since it is the goal of public health ventures, like parent support programs, to reach as much of the population as possible, direct and specific marketing methods should be employed, rather than marketing to parents–since parents, based on their gender, have different needs.
Future research can better target parents via marketing/advertising strategies that appeal to the parents’ needs. In other words, if you only market for improving children’s behavior problems, you can expect more mothers to come to the program than father, since they are more likely to perceive that as an issue.