Local community playgroup participation and associations with social capital

Cecily Strange, Alexandra Bremner, Colleen Fisher, Peter Howat, Lisa Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Issue addressed: The study aim was to investigate the relationships between social capital measures and playgroup participation
in a local residential area for parents with children of playgroup age (1–4 years) compared with non-participation and participation
in a playgroup outside the local residential area. Research indicates playgroup participation has benefits for families, however, less
is known about the potential local community social capital for parents who participate in playgroups.
Methods: Data were collected through a cross-sectional survey from March 2013 to January 2014 in Perth, Western Australia.
The data from a group of parents (n = 405) who had at least one child aged between 1 and 4 years were analysed using
multivariable regression. Reported playgroup participation (local, outside the area or non-participation) in the previous
12 months was investigated for associations with three measures (Neighbourhood Cohesion Index, Social Capital and
Citizenship Survey and local reciprocity) that capture attributes of social capital.
Results: Participation in playgroup locally was generally associated with higher levels of social capital than both participation
in playgroup outside the local area and non-participation. Mothers with two or more children fared better for social capital
measures than mothers with one child.
Conclusions: Participation in a locally placed playgroup may provide an important opportunity for families with children of
playgroup age (1–4 years) to build social capital in their local community.
So what? Playgroups in a family’s local area have the potential to foster locally placed social capital through community
interaction, social networks and cohesion, which are important for mental health promotion in communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


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