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The Evidenced Effects of Early Childhood Interventions to Promote Mental Health and Parenting in the Nordic Countries: A Systematic Review
Faculty of Education and Welfare Studies, Health Sciences, Åbo Akademi University, Vaasa (FIN).
Faculty of Education and Welfare Studies, Health Sciences, Åbo Akademi University, Vaasa (FIN).
University West, Department of Health Sciences, Section for nursing - graduate level. (LOVHH)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7915-8972
Faculty of Education and Welfare Studies, Health Sciences, Åbo Akademi University, Vaasa (FIN).
2023 (English)In: International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, ISSN 1462-3730, E-ISSN 2049-8543, Vol. 25, no 4, p. 505-537Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The first years of life and the family context are key to the promotion and protection of children’s health and well-being, emphasizing the need for interventions aimed to support families with young children. This review aimed to explore the effectiveness of early childhood interventions developed for promoting mental health and parenting among families with young children in the Nordic countries. Six electronic databases were systematically searched, and 20 articles covering 16 studies applying various quantitative and qualitative methods met the study inclusion criteria. The studied interventions were assessed as universal health-promoting interventions and health-promoting interventions with elements of prevention. Outcomes of interest encompassed mental health, related risk and protective factors among the parents and/or the children, or child-parent interaction. The results from studies applying statistical methods show significant improvements in parents’ self-efficacy, self-esteem, and parental satisfaction, while few improvements in parents’ social support or parental relationship were identified. Improvements in social support and parental relationships were however reported in qualitative studies. Most quantitative studies reporting on parents’ mental health problems and stress found a significant decrease, and qualitative studies highlighted experienced positive effects on mental health and well-being. The majority of studies reporting on children’s mental health and/or development as well as strengths and difficulties indicated a statistically significant positive development. No significant changes were however found for existing behaviora lproblems. The majority of studies examining parenting strategies and/or parent-child interaction found significant positive changes after the interventions. In sum, although findings are heterogeneous, early childhood interventions show various positive effects on the parenting and mental health of both children and their parents. The fact that different types of initiatives have been developed and implemented can be seen as an advantage, considering the varying needs and expectations of different families.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Tech Science Press , 2023. Vol. 25, no 4, p. 505-537
Keywords [en]
Systematic review; early childhood intervention; mental health promotion; primary prevention; parenting
National Category
Nursing
Research subject
NURSING AND PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENCE, Nursing science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-20297DOI: 10.32604/ijmhp.2023.020833ISI: 001006828100006Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85149480350OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-20297DiVA, id: diva2:1779838
Note

CC BY 4.0

 The study was funded by Högskolestiftelsen i Österbotten and Svensk-Österbottniskasamfundet. These funding bodies had no role in the design of the study, the collection, analysis, andinterpretation of data, or the composition of the manuscript

Available from: 2023-07-04 Created: 2023-07-04 Last updated: 2024-01-12

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Gunnarsdottir, Hrafnhildur

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