Evaluation of a health education intervention aimed at improving parental knowledge and attitudes towards chronic stress and depression in families Head Start

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Health promotion practice. December 26, 2021: 15248399211061132. doi: 10.1177 / 15248399211061132. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Chronic stress and depression disproportionately affect families in poverty and likely contribute to disparities in early childhood development outcomes. Developing strategies to deal with chronic stress and depression can help reduce these disparities. The Early Head Start (EHS) and Head Start (HS) programs provide an important platform to address the disproportionate burden of stress and mental health issues experienced by EHS / HS families. However, few low-literacy, broad and scalable interventions improve parents’ knowledge and attitudes on these topics.

OBJECTIVES: We examined parent knowledge and attitudes regarding stress and depression before and after a training-of-trainer (TTT) intervention delivered at 28 EHS / HS agencies across the United States.

METHODS: Following a TTT workshop, 18 agencies chose to deliver stress training to 1,089 parents and 5 chose to deliver depression training to 670 parents. Participating parents conducted paper assessments at baseline and 3 months after training. Paired T tests and chi-square analyzes tested whether responses improved significantly over time.

RESULTS: At baseline, 37.2% of parents reported feeling stressed most of the time and 13.4% reported feeling depressed most of the time. As a result of the trainings and reinforcement activities, parents’ knowledge, attitudes and self-reported behaviors significantly improved, including willingness to seek help for depression, avoidance of negative risk behaviors for health and the use of healthy stress management practices. At follow-up, 18.6% of parents reported feeling stressed most of the time and 11% reported feeling depressed.

CONCLUSION: The results suggest that this low literacy DTC approach is potentially a promising health promotion intervention with wide dissemination potential.

PMID:34957866 | DO I:10.1177 / 15248399211061132


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