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The social and behavioral impact of the parenting for lifelong- health program to caregivers and teens in Eswatini

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BACKGROUND: Parent-child communication and healthy relationships are important in combating risky behaviours that may lead to HIV infection among youth. In Eswatini parents do not spend time with their children to provide sexual education at household level (Mgadi:2003), reflecting poor parent-child relationships. Eswatini Ready, Resourceful, Risk Aware Project is implementing the Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH) program targeting teens and caregivers of teens to promote positive parenting and reduce risky HIV behaviours. The hypothesis tested in this study is to provide evidence that caregivers and teens will have positive parental attitude after participating and completing the PLH program.
METHODS: Secondary data analysis of routine data collected within ongoing implementation was explored to assess parental behavior and perception before and after program participation. 1832 caregivers and 1587 teens completed a pre PLH survey. Both participated in the 14 weeks parenting for teens program between October 2020 to September 2021. Upon completion, 1130 caregivers and 846 teens completed a post PLH survey. Regression models were conducted to assess pre-post differences programme effects using base package installed by default in R Studio (version 4.0.3). Variables that were not normally distributed were square root transformed. A significant (p<0.05) regression coefficient was considered to indicate programme impact on the outcome of interest.
RESULTS: The regression results shows that caregiver (726 females (64.25%) and 404 males (35.75%) and teen (10-19 years) was associated with an improvement in child behaviors (caregiver-report: b= -0.11, p=0.00; teen-report: b = -0.20, p=0.00), parental mental health (caregiver-report: b = -0.17, p=0.04), and financial condition (caregiver-report: b = -2.07, p=0.00) at post-intervention. Although we did not detect any difference between the pre- and post-caregiver reports in terms of parenting style (b =0.66, p=0.10), the teen-reported data indicated that they experienced more positive parenting practices (b = 1.00, p=0.00) after the programme.
CONCLUSIONS: Evidence suggests that exposure to PLH program influences positive parenting practices amongst parents and teens. The PLH intervention may also be adapted for teenagers and caregivers in prison. Future studies should investigate differences in HIV infection rate of participants exposed to PLH compared to those not.