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Changing cognitions in parents of two-year-olds attending Scottish Sure Start centres

Woolfson, Lisa and Durkin, K. and King, Julia (2010) Changing cognitions in parents of two-year-olds attending Scottish Sure Start centres. International Journal of Early Years Education, 18 (1). pp. 3-26. ISSN 0966-9760

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The study examined how preschool intervention programmes set up by three Scottish local authorities changed parents' cognitions. Quantitative parent outcomes were measured using Parenting Daily Hassles Scales (N = 88). A matched comparison group of parents (N = 55) recruited from the same areas of disadvantage but whose children did not attend the intervention programmes also completed questionnaires. Qualitative outcomes were evaluated using semi-structured interviews (N = 30). A significant group time interaction effect was found for daily hassle cognitions, Parenting Task-Intensity, Challenging Behaviour-Frequency and Challenging Behaviour-Intensity, with comparison group parents showing an increase in their experience of hassles during the 'terrible twos' compared with intervention group parents. Complementary qualitative data indicated that intervention group parents had gained valuable new insights into their children's behaviour, changing how they thought about their role as parents and their behavioural and developmental expectations of their children. Implications for parental engagement in preschool programmes are discussed.