Motivation to participate in parenting interventions: a Q methodology study among parents with adolescents

  • K. van Mourik
  • W.A. Gebhardt
  • S. van der Veek
  • M. Crone


Parents play an important role in the psychosocial development of children, and their successful transition from childhood to adulthood. Parenting interventions are effective in improving parenting skills, but it is a challenge to actively engage parents. Research reports lower levels of participation for parents of adolescents when compared with parents of young children. Using the Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) as a theoretical framework, we studied factors related to parents’ motivation to participate in parenting interventions. Using Q-methodology, 34 parents provided information about the PMT domains concerning perceived child problem severity and susceptibility, intervention benefits and barriers, and self-efficacy. Interviews were conducted to provide additional insight in parental concerns that were most prevalent. Five distinct factors emerged, representing five groups of parents with similar opinions and accounting for 78% of variance. Differences emerged between factors based on severity of problem behaviors, effectiveness of interventions, and parental self-efficacy. Most parents experienced concerns about adolescents' emotional and behavior difficulties, but views differ in regard to the lasting impact of these difficulties on the child. Perceived intervention benefits were associated with a higher intention to participate. Parents with a low self-efficacy, regardless of the severity of their concerns, were less inclined to use parenting interventions. The current study suggests that the perceived self-efficacy influences parents' motivation to participate in parenting interventions, regardless of the severity of the concerns. Results will be discussed with providers of parenting interventions, in order to investigate possibilities to increase participation of parents with low self-efficacy.
Oral presentations