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Positive parenting and parental skill building are associated with child well-being and can be enhanced through community-based parenting interventions. Although parenting intervention access and participation are influenced by individual and community-level factors, little is known about how social norms around parenting predict support for parenting interventions and parenting programs. To better understand the association between personal beliefs, help seeking social norms and support for parenting interventions, we examined survey data collected through phone interviews of adults living in South Carolina, United States (n = 1,143).


One-way ANOVAs assessed the relationship between personal beliefs and perceived social norms (what participants think are norms in their community) about seeking help for parenting and support for parenting interventions.


The extent to which personal beliefs and social norms related to parenting support were associated with parenting support was estimated using ordinary least squares regression models. After adjustment for demographic characteristics, awareness of where to go to get parenting knowledge and skills, believing that the government and other organizations should help parents who do not have support from family and friends, and believing that parents need support from family and friends “when parenting gets hard” all predicted support for believing that “all first-time parents should have the option of no cost in-home parenting support.” Believing that parents need support from family and friends when parenting gets hard predicted support for state government tax credits for attending positive parenting classes.


Activating these specific norms can help home visiting and positive parenting program investment and use and can encourage positive parenting practices.


This exploratory study examines the extent to which individuals’ beliefs about help-seeking social norms are relate to support for parenting interventions using South Carolina adults.

Three beliefs about seeking help for parenting were associated with support for no cost, in-home parenting support for all first-time parents after adjusting for demographic characteristics and beliefs about seeking help for parenting, while one belief about seeking help for parenting was associated with support for state government tax credits for parents.

Activating these specific beliefs may help investment in, and usage of, home visiting programs and positive parenting programs, which are widely recognized as prevention and early intervention programs that promote thriving children and families.

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The data collected for this study was funded by The Duke Endowment [2015-SP].

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Correspondence to Aditi Srivastav.

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This study was approved by the Heartland Institutional Review Board. All participants were asked to provide informed consent orally prior to being administered the questionnaire.

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Srivastav, A., Nelson, K.L., McRell, A.S. et al. What social norms are associated with parenting programs?. Child Adolesc Soc Work J (2022).

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