Objective. - To examine social support (SS) among parents across sociodemographically distinct pediatric outpatient settings. Methods. - We conducted a cross-sectional, self-administered, anonymous parent survey in 3 primary care sites in a Midwestern metropolitan area: inner-city health center, urban group practice, and suburban group practice. Participants were parents of children aged 6 weeks to 36 months. The main outcome measure was overall SS as measured by a previously validated 10-item instrument. Multivariate linear regression modeling was used to examine sociodemographic and health factors associated with overall SS scores. Results. - The study sample included 463 parents. The strongest sources of SS were a significant other or spouse and parent's parent or grandparent. The range for overall SS was 0 to 20, with a mean score of 12.1 (SD, ±4.2). Parents with overall SS in the lowest quartile (n = 123) comprised 43% of parents at the inner-city health center compared with 23% of parents at the urban practice and 16% of parents at the suburban practice. In a multivariate model, factors associated with lower overall SS were race other than white or black, single or cohabitating marital status, poorer parental health, and parental depressive symptoms. Conclusions. - Although parental SS was lowest in the most socioeconomically disadvantaged community in this sample, parents in all 3 communities had widely varying levels of support. Providers may gain insights about parents at increased risk for low SS by asking about parents' own physical and mental health.
- Health status
- Parental depression
- Social support
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health