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Title: Swimmers, strugglers and surfers : the acceptability and use of groups by parents and their young children from a Sure Start area
Author: Jones, Diana Susan
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2010
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In 2000 the UK government funded Sure Start projects to tackle childhood deprivation, based on evidence that early intervention can help prevent many later difficulties. Like previous projects run in economically-poor areas, Sure Start offered largely group-based activities to parents and young children. However, it is widely recognised that many high-need parents do not attend such groups. Although much research has been conducted among group users, little is known about non-users. This mixed-methods study explores which factors attracted parents to such groups, which repelled them, and whether Sure Start groups attracted different parents to other groups. When a Sure Start project was set up in the study area in 2000, a prospective baseline survey covered 301 parents, a quarter of those looking after children under four. Parents of the youngest cohort were re-interviewed in 2003/4. Their perceptions and experiences of early years groups were explored in depth, and information collected on many factors, including two global parenting variables (coping well and feeling supported), to explore which were associated with regular group attendance. Interviews highlighted the importance of psychological and social factors (termed 'peer factors ') in group attendance. Average attendance was calculated for each barrier and attraction to discover the strongest. Most parents were anxious about attending a group for the first time, compounded by 'rejection sensitivity,l for some, who became 'group-fearful'. Low attenders consisted of 'group-fearful' parents, who were struggling, and group-avoiders, who coped well. Different types of regular attend er were identified (struggler, swimmer and surfer), including some (surfers) who keenly wanted to move, or had moved, to a more advantaged area. Surfers who had not yet moved were struggling. It is suggested that acknowledging the fears of 'group-fearful' parents could help services plan better to meet their needs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available