Participation of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in a parent support program: Longitudinal associations between playgroup attendance and child, parent, and community outcomes

Williams, Kate Elizabeth, Berthelsen, Donna C., Viviani, Maria, & Nicholson, Jan (2017) Participation of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in a parent support program: Longitudinal associations between playgroup attendance and child, parent, and community outcomes. Child: Care, Health and Development, 43(3), pp. 441-450.

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Abstract

Background

Playgroups are a relatively unique form of family support program that is common in Australia which has high community acceptance and significant government investment. However, limited evidence exists regarding the effectiveness of playgroups to achieve better outcomes for children and their parents. This study describes patterns of playgroup participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with young children and examines the extent to which participation from birth to three years is associated with subsequent child, parent, and community outcomes.

Methods

This study uses three years of longitudinal data for 622 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were participants in the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC). Longitudinal associations between playgroup attendance when children were age 2 and 3 years and outcome measures for child vocabulary, motor skills, behavior problems, prosocial development, parent home learning engagement, resilience, advice-seeking and health service use, and community trustworthiness were examined using path analysis.

Results

Rates of playgroup participation in this sample group were generally lower than for Australian children overall. Playgroup attendance when children were age 2 to 3 years was associated with higher parental engagement in home learning activities when children were aged 4 years which, in turn, was associated with stronger expressive vocabulary scores for children.

Conclusion

The findings from this study suggest that playgroup participation can enhance the home learning environments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Playgroups as a parent support program holds strong potential to reach and engage families, particularly in areas of high geographic isolation, which can realize improved outcomes for children, parents and communities.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 99685
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Indigenous, playgroup, early childhood, parent support, parenting, preschool children, play, early intervention
DOI: 10.1111/cch.12417
ISSN: 1365-2214
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (111701)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Community Child Health (111704)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Developmental Psychology and Ageing (170102)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Deposited On: 10 Oct 2016 01:27
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2017 16:50

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