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PhD Research Abstract- (1998)
What Makes "Parent Training" Groups Effective?
Promoting Positive Parenting Through Collaboration

The research investigated 60 parents with conduct disordered children (49 were female and 11 male, 45 had partners and 15 were lone parents, 7 attended with their partners). Forty nine parents joined one of two parent training programmes, in order to compare and contrast effectiveness and to identify essential or core therapeutic variables. Six groups were measured against a non-treatment control group (n=11). Three groups (n=27) used the Fun and Families programme (Neville, King and Beak, 1995) whilst a further three (n=22) completed the WINNING programme (Dangel and Polster, 1988). Additionally a sample of parents (n=35) attended an ongoing Parent Support Group in order to further evaluate the impact on the maintenance and generalisation of change. Qualitative and quantitative measures were used to evaluate group process, consumer satisfaction, attitudinal shift and child behaviour change (Eyberg Child Behaviour Inventory; Eyberg, 1980). Parental reporting was cross checked through direct observation tests administered within the natural home setting. Parents were followed-up at two weeks, three months, nine months and two years.

Outcomes demonstrated there was no major significant difference between the two groupwork programmes; providing evidence that Group Leaders can achieve just as effective results by teaching intervention skills (WINNING programme) without the need for group members to carry out their own assessment (Fun and Families programme). Both programmes received significantly high consumer satisfaction ratings. Those parents who attended parent training reported significantly less child conduct problems when compared against the Control Group. Over time though (two years) there was no overall evidence to indicate a significant maintenance effect. Levels of self-efficacy and positive regard towards children did improve significantly as well as the quality of parent-child interaction; matched by a reduction in observed child behaviour problems within the home. The Control Group failed to achieve such improvements. There was no quantitative confirmation of the hypothesis that parental involvement with an ongoing support group facilitated the maintenance and generalisation of change over time and settings.

Results further demonstrated significant overlaps between both programmes in variables that enabled problem-solving and change, evidenced by the commonality of parental experiences and high consumer satisfaction levels. Mutual support was a key factor. The practical application and relevance of the theoretical model (Social Learning Theory) rather than the starting point was important. Across both programmes it was concluded that the style of delivery must attempt to collectively facilitate and harness parental experiences and strengths, to build self confidence and coping in order to challenge isolation and helplessness. Essential therapeutic elements were identified within the above collaborative process and a Groupwork Schema developed to show these elements and the key Group Leader skills required to facilitate group process.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

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Last modified: 05/10/10