Date of Award

2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

Abstract

This review explored the effects of stress in the family environment and the role that family support plays in reducing this stress. Specifically, research concerning the role that child care workers play in providing support to families who utilise their services was examined. The literature showed that there are many stressors facing families today and that the experience of stress in the family environment can have a detrimental effect on children's developmental outcomes. While the literature showed that experiencing social support can reduce stress in the family environment, it was also found that many families face isolation from such forms of support. Family support delivered through existing services such as child care centres has been shown to help these families who are stressed and isolated from social supports. However, there is little research that examines the role that childcare workers play in providing support to families. Therefore, more research is needed to examine the role that child care workers play in providing support to families and the key interactions between workers and families that can generate this support. This report presents the findings of a case study that sought to gather a description of the ways that child care workers provide family support by gaining direct personal insights from parents and child care workers. One on one, semi-structured interviews were conducted with three staff members and three parents from a child care centre in order to gain personal insights about the way that family support was delivered within the case. Additionally, the researcher recorded observation1S about the way that family support was being delivered within the centre, for triangulation of data. The analysis uncovered three aspects of support that were deemed to be important within the case. These included building positive relationships between parents and staff, encouraging parent involvement in the centre and providing formal and informal education to parents. Additionally, the participants felt that through these support mechanisms and also through providing parents with respite in times of need, the child care staff were reducing parents' stress.

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