Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

The ripple effect : relationship changes in the context of a family literacy program Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/r781wj40z

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  • Using a qualitative approach, this study explored how participation in a family literacy program can impact important relationships beyond the targeted parent-child dyad. Interviews with 108 parents, were collected over four program years, 1996-1999, as part of the statewide evaluation of Oregon's Even Start Family Literacy programs, were analyzed using a systems theory framework. The findings provided support for the theoretical framework, where not only the target parent and child participants' relationship changed as a result of participation, but also relationship changes with non-participant children, partners, peers, and extended family were reported. These relationship changes were examined, by using the participants' words to gain greater insight into the types of changes that occurred and the process of that change. Parent's reported increases in home-based literacy activities with their children and greater knowledge of basic child development, which led to improvements in parent-child interactions. Participant's also indicated learning effective communication skills and anger management techniques, as well as discipline strategies that were less punitive. Interviews revealed that some skills learned in Even Start rippled out to their intimate partners as well. Some parents disclosed that Even Start was particularly supportive and helpful in the few instances of oppression and domestic violence. Hispanic participants noted more frequent changes in their intimate relationships, as they were more likely to be partnered. They indicated becoming less dependent on their partners, which led to positive changes in their marital relationships. Most participants initially indicated being isolated from both family and friends, however participation in Even Start led to expanded social networks. Some participants changed their peer groups as a result of participation. Hispanic participants were especially appreciative of the opportunity to socialize with other parents through participation in Even Start. The findings offer important implications for future research and practitioners. Even Start appears to be effective in fostering overall family well-being and expanding social networks. Additional investigation using a triangulation of methods is needed to further examine the effectiveness of this program, particularly the parenting classes.
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