Mothers’ and fathers’ attendance in a community-based universally offered parenting program in Sweden.


Aim: Using a public health perspective, this study examined the characteristics of mothers and fathers who attended, compared to those who did not attend, a community-based practitioner-led universally offered parenting program. Method: Mothers (141) and fathers (96) of 4- to 5-year-olds completed a set of questionnaires, including their demographic characteristics, their child’s behavioral and emotional problems, and their own parenting behavior. They were all then given the opportunity to attend level 2 of the Triple P-Positive Parenting Program. During the first six months of the study, 33 mothers and 11 fathers opted to attend the program. Results: The relation between program attendance and parental characteristics was similar for mothers and fathers. In general, fathers, non-native and lower educated parents were less likely to attend the program. Mothers, but not fathers, were more likely to attend if they reported more child behavior problems, while fathers, but not mothers, were observed at a trend level to attend if they perceived their child as having more emotional problems. In addition, parents in general were more likely to attend if they used more harsh parenting strategies. Conclusions: Although the universal offer did not reach parents universally, generally those parents who needed it were more likely to attend. Furthermore, this study shows that different factors may impact mothers’ and fathers’ attendance; therefore, parental data should be analyzed separately and different recruitment strategies should be used for mothers and fathers.