An insight into the involvement of mothers of low socioeconomic status in Scottish primary school health education activities

Samantha Donnelly, Duncan S. Buchan, Ann-Marie Gibson, Gillian McLellan, Rosie Arthur*

*Corresponding author for this work

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School-based health activities that involve parents are more likely to be effective for child health and wellbeing than activities without a parent component. However, such school-based interventions tend to recruit the most motivated parents and limited evidence exists surrounding the involvement of hard-to-reach parents with low socioeconomic status (SES). Mothers remain responsible for the majority of family care, therefore, this study investigated mothers with low SES to establish the reasons and barriers to their involvement in school-based health activities and propose strategies to increase their involvement in those activities. Interviews were conducted with mothers with low SES, who were typically not involved in school-based health activities (n = 16). An inductive-deductive approach to hierarchical analysis revealed there are several barriers resulting in mothers being less-involved, particularly due to issues surrounding the schools’ Parent Councils and exclusivity of school-based events. Efforts made by the school to promote health activities and involve parents in such activities was revealed, alongside recommendations to improve upon these practices. The findings offer multiple ways in which future school-based health interventions can recruit and involve mothers with low SES.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Education & Behavior
Early online date28 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2019



  • Children
  • Health education
  • Mothers
  • Parents
  • Socioeconomic status

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