A Worksite Parenting Program: A Feasibility Study

Wilson, Laura
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University of Guelph

This study involved two phases. The objective of the first phase was to explore the need for and preferred delivery mode of a workplace parenting program. The objective of the second phase was to adapt and test the feasibility and acceptability of a pre-existing parenting program that has been run successfully in community settings to parents in their workplace. To achieve the first objective, we conducted 9 individual or small group interviews with 11 employers representing 8 different organizations across South Western Ontario. Results from the interviews showed that a workplace parenting program is of interest to employers and resulted in a number of suggestions from employers on ways to structure the program to fit into the logistical constraints of a workplace setting. To achieve the second objective, we adapted a pre-existing program incorporating employer suggestions to create Parents Working Together (PWT), a workplace-based parenting program that incorporates general parenting and weight-related messages. We then tested the program using a pre/post uncontrolled feasibility trial with 9 employees of a large manufacturing company located in Guelph, Ontario. The main finding from the feasibility trial was that PWT was feasible and acceptable to employees. PWT may also be effective in changing parent and child weight-related behaviours, as well as easing parent stress and improving work-life balance. These results indicate a workplace-based program that addresses general parenting skills and weight-related behaviours may be a feasible and effective way to engage and educate parents. A full-scale trial is needed to determine the effectiveness of this approach.

workplace wellness, childhood obesity prevention, feasibility study