Building social capital in first-time parents through a group-parenting program: a questionnaire survey
Fielden, JM & Gallagher, LM 2008, 'Building social capital in first-time parents through a group-parenting program: a questionnaire survey', International Journal of Nursing Studies, vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 406-417.
Published version available from
Background: Parents who are connected into strong family and community networks are said to have high social capital enabling them to provide a positive context where their children’s social, emotional and educational needs are met.
Objectives: To identify parent satisfaction with, strengths and weaknesses of, opportunities to build social capital, and the impact of a two-course pilot health and relationship focused Parenting Education Program—PEPE, designed for first-time parents, on the core work of the well-child nurse/health visitor. Design: Retrospective descriptive survey using postal questionnaires. Setting: Twelve pilot parenting courses facilitated across five regions of New Zealand.
Participants: All parents ðn ¼ 105Þ and clinical nursing staff ðn ¼ 12Þ involved in the pilot parenting courses were invited to participate. Overall response rate was 82%.
Methods: Questionnaires developed by investigators were mailed to the eligible population. Numerical data was analysed using PC-SAS. Narrative data was subjected to thematic content analysis.
Results: Attendance at both parenting courses positively correlated with an increase in measures of social capital: development of strong social networks (82% Your New Baby course respondents: 95% CI, 75–89, and 98% Your Growing Baby course respondents: 95% CI, 96–100), and positive relationships with others (93% Your New Baby course respondents: 95% CI, 88–98, and 86% Your Growing Baby course respondents: 95% CI, 83–89). Increased confidence in respondent’s parenting ability was also identified (96% Your New Baby course respondents: 95% CI, 92–100; 96% Your Growing Baby course respondents: 95% CI 93–99).
Conclusions: The PEPE programme was well accepted by first-time parents leading to significant improvements in development of social capital and parenting confidence. Well-child health nurses are in a prime position to foster social capital and help rebuild communities within which they work to enhance parenting outcomes.