Involvement of the personal social network as a factor in parent education effectiveness

Susan K. Walker, David A. Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This study examined the impact of mothers' involvement with their social networks upon their self-reported changes in behaviors and attitudes due to a parenting intervention - in this case monthly, age-paced parenting newsletters. Path analyses revealed that discussing and sharing newsletter copies with others was associated with greater self-reported change but did not significantly mediate the relationship between newsletter use and parental change. Rather, individual use of the newsletter and social sharing of the content had independent effects on parenting. The results support a general view that the advice of parenting programs is not accepted or rejected in a vacuum, but often within the context of discussions within the participants' existing social networks. This suggests two practical implications for program developers: (a) Interventions might be more effective if they encouraged such social network processing of program advice, and (b) programs might even target social networks rather than individual parents as their clients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-193
Number of pages8
JournalFamily relations
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2001


  • Infancy
  • Newsletters
  • Parent education
  • Social networks


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