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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

6 Issues per year

CiteScore 2016: 0.32

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.240
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.819

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Volume 2015, Issue 204 (Apr 2015)


Gender equality in Swedish child health centers: An analysis of their physical environments and parental behaviors

Michael B. Wells / Jonas Engman / Anna Sarkadi
Published Online: 2014-10-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2014-0046


Aims. The aim of this study is to investigate the level of gender equality within the Swedish child health centers' (CHCs) waiting rooms.

Methods. A total of 31 CHCs waiting rooms were analyzed using semiotic visual analysis to explore who the waiting rooms represented by coding the pictures, brochures, and magazines by gender using a manifest analysis, where the researchers coded what the pictures physically entailed, and a latent analysis, where the meaning of those pictures was discerned. In addition, 281 parental observations were completed at 25 of the CHCs by two observers. Inter-rater reliability was established and consensus was reached by using prescribed definitions of the waiting rooms.

Results: Only 8 CHCs were categorized as Family-Centered, while 12 were Mother-Child Centered, 6 Child-Centered, 2 Women-Centered, and 3 were Neutral environments. The different designs between the categorized waiting rooms affected fathers', but not the mothers' involvement with respect to playing with their child and reading the posted information. When analyzing within one categorized environment, fathers were more likely to play with their child compared to mothers.

Conclusions: CHCs should consciously redesign their environments to also be inclusive of fathers so that they more habitually participate in their child's health.

Keywords: Sweden; child health centers; environmental factors; parenting behavior; family policy; gender equality

About the article

Michael B. Wells

Michael B. Wells (b. 1982) is a PhD candidate at Uppsala University <michael.wells@kbh.uu.se>. His research interests include parenting, fathers, and child development. His publications include “ ‘Children are exposed to temptation all the time’ – parents' lifestyle-related discussions in focus groups” (with C. Stenhammer et al. 2012); “Conscious parenting: A qualitative study on Swedish parents' motives to participate in a parenting program” (with J. Rahmqvist and A. Sarkadi, 2013); “Swedish child health nurses' views of early father involvement: A qualitative study” (with G. Varga et al., 2013).

Jonas Engman

Jonas Engman (b. 1981) is a PhD student at Uppsala University <jonas.engman@psyk.uu.se>. His research interests include neuroscience, anxiety, resting-state networks, and emotions. His publications include “Age, sex and NK1 receptors in the human brain? A positron emission tomography study with [11C]GR205171” (with F. Åhs et al., 2012); “The effect of premenstrual dysphoric disorder and menstrual cycle phase on brain activity during response inhibition” (with E. Bannbers et al., 2012); “Disruption of reconsolidation erases a fear memory trace in the human amygdala” (with T. Agren et al., 2012); and “Oral contraceptive use changes brain activity and mood in women with previous negative affects during the pill – a double blinded, placebo-controlled randomized trial of Neovletta®” (with A. Gignell et al., 2013).

Anna Sarkadi

Anna Sarkadi (b. 1974) is an associate professor at Uppsala University <Anna.Sarkadi@kbh.uu.se>. Her research interests include child health, child development, and community pediatrics. Her publications include “Fathers' involvement and children's developmental outcomes: A systematic review of longitudinal studies” (with R. Kristiansson, 2008); and “Swedish child health nurses' views of early father involvement: A qualitative study” (with M. Wells et al., 2013).

Published Online: 2014-10-22

Published in Print: 2015-04-01

Citation Information: Semiotica, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2014-0046.

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©2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

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