A qualitative exploration of mothers who reject playgroup
Taylor and Francis
School of Arts and Humanities
Becoming a mother is a major life experience eliciting a range of physical, psychological, and social changes, resulting in high levels of stress and an increased need for support. Research suggests that mothers’ participation in a community playgroup can facilitate social support, increase parenting confidence, and effectively reduce maternal stress. However, there is currently insufficient research on community playgroups in Australia, particularly in relation to why some mothers reject playgroup. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 10 mothers residing in Perth, Western Australia. Using an interpretative phenomenological approach, four main themes were identified: the presence of support; perception of playgroup; identity as a mother; and other sources of information. Understanding the reasons why mothers reject playgroup, and how they experience parenting and social support outside a playgroup setting, provides a vital perspective on the ways in which service providers can improve parent engagement in the program. Further research is required to assess gaps in parental education and awareness of playgroup to improve service delivery.