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Parents’ Perspectives of School Mental Health Promotion Initiatives are Related to Parents’ Self-Assessed Parenting Capabilities

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 December 2015

Helen Askell-Williams*
Flinders Educational Futures Research Institute, School of Education, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
address for correspondence: Helen Askell-Williams (PhD), Flinders Educational Futures Research Institute, School of Education, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100 SA, Australia. Email:


Achieving broad-scale parent1 engagement with school initiatives has proven elusive. This article reports survey data from 287 Maltese parents about their perceptions of the quality of their child's school's initiatives for promoting students’ wellbeing and mental health. Findings indicate that, on average, parents rated school initiatives highly. However, a MANCOVA of respondents grouped into three categories of Self-Assessed Parenting Capabilities (low, medium, high) showed that parents who held low perceptions of their own parenting capabilities also held significantly lower perceptions of the quality of schools’ mental health promotion initiatives. Less favourable dispositions towards school mental health promotion initiatives by parents with relatively low-parenting capabilities have implications for the design and delivery of school-based initiatives. For example, typical parent engagement, support and information provision activities (e.g., parent-teacher meetings, newsletters) might be less well received in families that arguably have a greater need to engage with such initiatives. This study has implications for whole-school mental health promotion initiatives that seek to include all parents.

Copyright © The Author(s) 2015 

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