Background: Social support has been associated with numerous positive outcomes for families’ health, wellbeing and empowerment. This study examined which socio-demographic characteristics are associated with perceived social support among parents of children aged 0–7 years. Method: Cross-sectional data of 1007 parents of children aged 0–7 years, gathered in the CIKEO cohort study in the Netherlands, were analysed. Social support was assessed with the Multi-dimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS). Linear regression models were used to examine associations between socio-demographic characteristics and perceived social support. Results: The mean age of the participants was 34.1 years (SD = 5.1); 92.9% were mothers. The multivariable regression model showed that fathers (β: -0.15, 95% CI: − 0.22, − 0.08), parents with a low educational level (β: -0.12, 95% CI: 0.18, − 0.06), parents with a low income (β: -0.10, 95% CI: − 0.19, − 0.01), unemployed parents (β: -0.14, 95% CI: − 0.20, − 0.07), and parents of older children (β: -0.07; 95% CI: − 0.13, 0.00) perceived lower levels of social support. Interaction analyses showed that parents with a migration background and a low educational level were particularly susceptible to perceiving lower levels of support (β: -0.34, 95% CI: − 0.52, − 0.15). Conclusion: Fathers, parents with a low educational level, parents with a low income, unemployed parents, parents of older children, and parents with both a migration background and a low educational level are at increased risk of perceiving lower levels of social support. Implications: We recommend to develop, implement and evaluate intervention strategies to strengthen perceived social support among the abovementioned subgroups of parents, in order to improve families’ health, wellbeing and empowerment. Trial registration: NTR7607 in the Netherlands trial registry.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The CIKEO study was funded by a research grant (project number: 729300015) from ZonMw, The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development. The funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analyses, or interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
© 2022, The Author(s).