Beyond Kayaking – A qualitative investigation of parents and facilitators views regrading an outdoor, activity-based, multi-session parenting intervention program

Yvonne K. Parry, Shelly Abbott, Matthew David Ankers, Lyall Willis, Teresa O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Beyond Kayaking program is a free, outdoor activity-based, parenting intervention delivered across multiple sessions to vulnerable families in regional South Australia. Current literature on outdoor activity-based interventions have demonstrated improvements in family communication, problem-solving, bonding and trust. However, these studies are mostly based on single session interventions from the United States. This study explored the subjectively reported benefits of a multi-session intervention delivered in an Australian setting including how families perceived their relationships had changed (if at all) through participation in the program. This was accomplished through the use of open-ended, qualitative interviews with 20 parents who participated in the Beyond Kayaking program between 2016 and 2017. Additionally, a one-off focus group with three members of Beyond Kayaking staff was conducted to give context to the research. Thematic analysis of the data identified three dominant themes regarding participants' experiences of the Beyond Kayaking program. The first theme was ‘building family capacity’ and identified how kayaking produced an environment that helped families to communicate and problem solve together, which improved family understanding overall. The second theme was ‘local culture’ which discussed how education on local Indigenous culture helped build awareness in non-Indigenous people while helping Indigenous families to connect. The final theme ‘support and shared circumstances’ discussed the benefits of participants meeting people in similar circumstance, which helped them both improve, and feel better about, their own situation. Importantly, this study demonstrates that learning a new skill while being unsure and vulnerable in front of others strengthens family relationships – thus improving understanding of how activity-based interventions aid families. However, longitudinal research that follows up with participants is needed to better understand the lasting impacts of the improvements witnessed in this research.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Early online date7 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • children
  • disadvantage
  • families
  • intervention
  • kayaking
  • vulnerable

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