Understanding parent perspectives on engagement with online youth-focused mental health programs

Jessica L Muller, Luke Tomlin, Sonja March, Ben Jackson, Timothy Budden, Kwok Hong Law, James A Dimmock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Online youth-focused health programs often include parent modules-that equip parents with skills to assist their child in improving their health-alongside youth-specific content. BRAVE Self-Help, an evidence-based program designed for children and teenagers with early signs of anxiety, is a popular Australian program that includes six parent modules. Despite its popularity and proven efficacy, BRAVE Self-Help shares the same challenge as many online self-help programs-that of low participant engagement. Using parents registered in BRAVE Self-Help as 'information rich' participants, we explored (a) factors that influenced parent engagement in online health programs, and (b) their recommendations for enhancing parent engagement.

DESIGN AND OUTCOME MEASURE: We conducted semi-structured interviews with 14 parents registered in BRAVE Self-Help. Data were analysed through reflexive thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Social-, family- and program-related factors drove parents' program engagement and recommendations. Social sub-themes related to the benefits of professional and community support in promoting more engagement. Family sub-themes included difficulties with program engagement due to competing priorities, perceptions that condition severity influenced engagement, and feelings that previously-acquired health knowledge reduced motivation to engage. Program sub-themes included perceived usefulness and ease-of-use.

CONCLUSION: Program designers could target support systems, include flexible delivery options, and use iterative design processes to enhance parent engagement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-630
Number of pages18
JournalPsychology & Health
Volume39
Issue number5
Early online date27 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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