Background: The positive impact of parenting programs for youth mental health is undermined by difficulties engaging parents. Low engagement disproportionately impacts parents of lower-socioeconomic positions (SEPs). Internet- and mobile-based interventions hold potential for overcoming barriers to enrolment, but additional research is needed to understand how programs can appropriately meet the needs of parents across SEPs. Consumer preference methods such as discrete choice experiments may be valuable in this endeavour. Method: A discrete choice experiment was used to determine the relative influence of modifiable program features on parents' intent to enrol. 329 Australian parents of children aged 0–18 repeatedly selected their preferred program from randomized sets of hypothetical programs in an online survey. Each hypothetical program was unique, varying across four program features: module duration, program platform, user control, and program cost. Cumulative link models were used to predict choices, with education, household income, and community advantage used as indicators of SEP. Results: Overall, parents preferred cheaper programs and briefer modules. Parents' preferences differed based on their socioeconomic challenges. Lower-income parents preferred briefer modules, cheaper programs and application-based programs compared to higher-income parents. Parents with less education preferred briefer modules and a predefined module order. Parents living in areas of less advantage preferred website-based programs, user choice of module order, and more expensive programs. Conclusions: This study offers program developers evidence-based strategies for tailoring internet- and mobile-based parenting interventions to increase lower-SEP parent enrolment. Findings also highlight the importance of considering parents' socioeconomic challenges to ensure programs do not perpetuate existing mental health inequalities, as “one-size-fits-all” approaches are likely insufficient for reaching lower-SEP parents.
- Discrete choice experiment
- Youth mental health