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Designing effective interventions for working parents: a web‐based survey of parents in the UK workforce

Matthew R. Sanders (University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)
Divna M. Haslam (Training and Curriculum Development at the Parenting and Family Support Centre, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)
Rachel Calam (School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Clare Southwell (Business in the Community, London, UK)
Helen M. Stallman (Clinical Psychology at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)

Journal of Children's Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

Article publication date: 16 September 2011




The purpose of this paper is to examine working parents' experiences and attitudes and to determine if these differ according to gender. Three areas were investigated: level of reported difficulties in parenting and balancing work and family; parental perceptions about the workplace as a context for the delivery of parenting support; and employee preferences for intervention features.


In total, 721 employed parents in the UK were recruited via their organisation and completed a web‐based survey.


A total of 41 percent of parents reported their children had significant behaviour problems and 85 percent stated that worksite parenting interventions should be made available. A clear preference was found for evidence‐based interventions delivered by trained practitioners. The vast majority of men (86 percent) and women (90 percent) reported they would attend a workplace parenting intervention if one were available.


The need to tailor programmes to the needs of parents is increasingly accepted. This paper analyses the potential for tailoring an evidence‐based programme for parents in the workplace. It suggests that the provision of workplace parenting programmes may benefit the organisation and the individual and increase parental access to services.



Sanders, M.R., Haslam, D.M., Calam, R., Southwell, C. and Stallman, H.M. (2011), "Designing effective interventions for working parents: a web‐based survey of parents in the UK workforce", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 186-200.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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