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Centre for the Built Environment and Health, School of Population Health Parenthood and social capital: creating a village in modern suburbia Cecily Strange.

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Presentation on theme: "Centre for the Built Environment and Health, School of Population Health Parenthood and social capital: creating a village in modern suburbia Cecily Strange."— Presentation transcript:

1 Centre for the Built Environment and Health, School of Population Health Parenthood and social capital: creating a village in modern suburbia Cecily Strange PhD candidate Supervisors: Associate Professor Lisa Wood,UWA Professor Colleen Fisher, UWA Professor Peter Howat, Curtin University

2 The University of Western Australia Overview of presentation  Background – parenthood in the 21 st C  Key concepts - Social capital and community connectedness  Families with 0-5 year olds  This study Design Findings to date Implications for policy and practice

3 The University of Western Australia Social trends impacting on parenting in Australia Trends  Migration ABS 2011 census One in four Australians born overseas – (30% in WA)  Family structure and employment  Starting a family often coincides with moving to the urban sprawl Possible effects:  Traditional family and social support eroded  Changes in social connectedness (Leigh, 2010) Perth metropolitan region

4 The University of Western Australia Why we need a closer look What we know  One in four parents report poor social support (LSAC report 2008)  One in five parents report poor mental health (ABS Social Survey reported in A picture of Australia’s Children 2009)  Newer residential areas have difficulties in establishing community groups for families (Sneddon and Haynes, 2003 Vic)  Determinants of health – 5 key (Keleher & MacDougall 2009) Socio-economic gradient Early child development Poverty, deprivation and social exclusion Health literacy Gender

5 The University of Western Australia In the neighbourhood  Neighbours can be a valuable source of social support by Jacinta Francis, Ph.D. /in-the-neighborhood/ mAmamia Where’s my *%&$village By Mia Freedman Bad mothers club They say it takes a village to raise a child. So where the hell is everyone when you need them? It is topical in social media

6 The University of Western Australia Key concepts Social capital  Putnam’s definition: ‘refers to features of social organisation such as networks, norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit’ (1995)  Harpham et al. define social capital to be 'the degree of connectedness and the quality and quantity of social relations in a given population‘ (2002) Health  Social relationships and social capital are linked to mental and physical health. Refs 1).Kawachi 1999 Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB, Layton JB. 2010)

7 The University of Western Australia Social capital for families with 0-5 year olds Participation Structural components Participation Structural components Structural social capital: ‘what you do’ Social capital ‘ degree of connectedness and the quality and quantity of social relations in a given population’ (Ref Harpham et al 2002) Social capital ‘ degree of connectedness and the quality and quantity of social relations in a given population’ (Ref Harpham et al 2002) Social cohesion Cognitive components Social cohesion Cognitive components Cognitive social capital: ‘what you feel’ Reciprocity Social support Shared values and trust Social action and norms Participation in groups and networks in the community

8 The University of Western Australia The broader study Investigation of how families with children 0-5 years build social capital, and feel connected and supported within communities: services and community groups in newer residential areas  Mixed methods design Qualitative - In-depth interviews, focus groups Quantitative – survey  Recruitment initially through RESIDE study (C_BEH, UWA)  Newer residential areas across three LGAs  Data collection Qualitative – (n = 46) participants from three large LGAs – completed Quantitative survey – in progress

9 The University of Western Australia Qualitative design and methods Sampling purposeful for maximum variation (Creswell, 2007) In-depth interviews with 12 mothers and 7 community representatives Focus groups with 3 mothers’ groups and 3 playgroups Participants – mothers (n=39)  All primary caregivers  years with 1 to 3 children under 5 years of age  Paid employment from 0 to 34 hours per week  13 mothers from overseas – 11 moved to Australia as adults and 2 as children.  2 overseas mothers had also moved interstate  Majority home owners 7 community representatives working in the LGAs

10 The University of Western Australia Data collection and analysis Data collection  Interviews and focus groups were undertaken in homes, community centres or local government settings  Recorded and transcribed verbatim –NVivo9  Rigor through an audit trail - field notes and familiarity with the built environment and landscape Analysis  Analysis and collection occurred concurrently  Thematic analysis as described by Creswell (2007) Coding concepts into categories and sub-categories to identify themes Themes reviewed and contrasted with existing literature

11 The University of Western Australia Increase need/desire to connect to the neighbourhood Increased vested interest in neighbourhood -influenced by previous connection, past experiences, norms and future expectations Structural social capital: ‘what you do’ Parenthood Increased need for social support Influenced by transition to parent and scope of social support and networks Cognitive social capital: ‘what you feel’ Reciprocity Social support Trust and shared values Social action and norms Participation in groups and networks Creating a village Enablers and barriers within newer residential areas Community groups and services as facilitators

12 The University of Western Australia Parenthood brings an increased need/desire to connect to one’s neighbourhood ‘Yes, I think it’s (to be connected to the local community) more important now that I’m a parent. Like I’ve moved around the world...I’ve been travelling like my entire life... I hope to stay here and I hope that Tom goes to school down the road and we are always going to be around these people...it is more than likely that the people in my mother’s group...I will continue to see them while dropping Tom off to school...for what...the next 12 years. So, I think now more than ever, the responsibility is on me to forge friendships and get involved...because we want stay here for a while, and I have a vested interest not only in my property but also...in the value of my life and the surroundings...’ Connectedness

13 The University of Western Australia Vested interest in the neighbourhood, influenced by  norms  past experiences  future expectations ‘Well for me it’s not just living in an area... you’ve got to actually be part of it. Rather than driving 10 kms to the big shopping centre...but supporting the local shops…getting to know your neighbours and doing things in the area...going out for walks and seeing them...and spending time here... So, to me the only way to get more things happening there is to support the things that are happening there already...’ Vested interest

14 The University of Western Australia Need for social support is influenced by  transition to parenthood  scope of social support and networks available. ‘I had never had much interaction with babies…and I don’t really know anybody that had babies that I could learn from. So, I thought, well, I need that kind of support structure so I could figure out how to do this whole motherhood thing.’ (reason for joining a local mothers’ group) Social support and networks

15 The University of Western Australia Mothers’ groups and playgroups facilitate community connectedness  building social and supportive networks  sharing and normalising parenthood experiences However, parents need to be resourceful. It means that I have a family here. The mother’s group became my family...my support network…and without them I probably would not cope at all.’ (mother) ‘The issues they [parents] have are quite common…but if you are in isolation you make it a major issue…whereas it may be normal developmental change or something like that. And so it alleviates a lot of that stress that parents have...talking about it with somebody else [another parent].’(Child Health Nurse) Community groups

16 The University of Western Australia  opportunities to meet others through the ‘newness of all’  lag of amenities and services that restrict ‘brushing elbows’ with others ‘You can really see the difference… before we had the shops and the pub… then and after... like now… come 5 o’clock people are walking around…like families are walking down to the pub or they are walking down to the park after getting an ice-cream at the shop…people are out and about …instead of driving to the grocery store and not ever going back outside again. So…you see kids on bikes… there is that community atmosphere that I think the developers were trying to sell… I guess it happened what…6 years later…but they’ve achieved that community focus.’ Newer residential areas

17 The University of Western Australia  ‘I wouldn’t have met any of them if it wasn’t for mother’s group or playgroup… even though we all live in the play area.’  ‘I think if you actually make an effort to join groups and get involved you feel a lot more connected...yeh definitely.’ Social capital: Participation Structural social capital: ‘what you do’ Cognitive social capital: ‘what you feel’ Reciprocity Social support Shared values and trust Social action and norms Participation in groups and networks in the community

18 The University of Western Australia Social capital: Social action Structural social capital: ‘what you do’ Cognitive social capital: ‘what you feel’ Reciprocity Social support Shared values and trust Social action and norms Participation in groups and networks in the community ‘When they were putting in the shops and the pub there were quite a few concerns...they did have a community meeting about that...so we trotted along to that. That was just...going to a ‘neighbourhood meeting’ kind of thing. And it was actually really good...and it was frustrating because we all thought it was a fantastic idea...for the community… and the people who lived close were against. But it was still good to be part of that. I guess it was a common purpose… It was something for the future and something that we believed in.’

19 The University of Western Australia Social capital: Reciprocity and social support Structural social capital: ‘what you do’ Cognitive social capital: ‘what you feel’ Reciprocity Social support Shared values and trust Social action and norms Participation in groups and networks in the community ‘When I moved into the area...like my next door neighbour has a dog...and I said ‘Hi, I’m your neighbour...can I walk your dog?’ She had cancer at the time. And just from doing that for them…we’ve become really good friends...and I’m really lucky because my husband is away all the time...like the other week I was really sick...and I put a post on the mothers’ group...someone helped me out with my baby...and my neighbour drove me to hospital...and you know… if I hadn’t of done that...I wouldn’t have had anyone. Like I’ve got these girls and I’ve got good neighbours...you know…they will look out for me.’

20 The University of Western Australia Social capital: Shared values and trust Structural social capital: ‘what you do’ Cognitive social capital: ‘what you feel’ Reciprocity Social support Shared values and trust Social action and norms Participation in groups and networks in the community ‘If you are at the park…other people will watch out for your kids. You know…if they [child] are climbing up somewhere and you are dealing with your other child…they’ll [other parents] go stand beside them even if you don’t know who the kid or person is. You know…just to make sure they are OK. Often I have experienced that. So, that’s a good thing. You feel that there is support there.’

21 The University of Western Australia Increase need/desire to connect to the neighbourhood Increased vested interest in neighbourhood -influenced by previous connection, past experiences, norms and future expectations Structural social capital: ‘what you do’ Parenthood Increased need for social support Influenced by transition to parent and scope of social support and networks Cognitive social capital: ‘what you feel’ Reciprocity Social support Trust and shared values Social action and norms Participation in groups and networks Creating a village Enablers and barriers within newer residential areas Community groups and services as facilitators

22 The University of Western Australia And for Dads…  He (husband) has only met other Dads in the neighbourhood through my mothers’ group and playgroup.  ‘His friends didn’t have any kids...so for him I think that was good. (To meet other Dads through the playgroup?) Yeh...other Dads and not just his mates and family. Yeh…I think having that was good for him.’

23 The University of Western Australia It takes time… Friendships ‘Things take time...I mean…to establish a good circle of friends and...it just takes years.’ Alone  Relocation  Groups not available Community connectedness ‘It reminds me a lot...when I was growing up...our community was quite tight...like that...and it is more now…like how I grew up...and that is nice.’ (three and half years after moving into a newer area which has had a recent development of a shopping hub)

24 The University of Western Australia Implications for policy and practice What we know  Parenthood is a time of vulnerability and transition  Changing demographics mean families are potentially more isolated  Parents desire/need to connect to their local communities What to do  Support parents and provide a variety of opportunities for parents to meet with others in their local community  Reduce lag of community hubs in newer residential areas  A variety of strategies (Moore, 2006) across sectors collaborative Sustainable

25 The University of Western Australia Next phase of the study - quantitative  Pilot survey underway  Main survey 2013  Variables of interest include: parent perceptions of social support and community connectedness, length of residence and relocation, and the role of community groups

26 The University of Western Australia I guess ultimately…I don’t want to be living amongst strangers...I want to have friends in the area...I want to walk out my door and say hello. Thank you Contact:


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