The longer term experiences of parent training: a qualitative analysis


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Abstract

BackgroundChild conduct problems are a major public health priority. Group-based parenting programmes are popular in addressing such problems, but evidence for their longer-term effectiveness is limited. Moreover, process evaluations are rare and little is understood about the key facilitative and inhibitive factors associated with maintaining outcomes in the longer term.MethodThis study involved the use of qualitative methods as part of a larger process evaluation to explore the longer-term experiences of parents who participated in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the Incredible Years Parenting Programme (IYPP) in disadvantaged settings in Ireland. A series of one-to-one in-depth interviews was conducted with parents at 12- (n = 20) and 18-month follow-up (n = 8) and analysed using constructivist grounded theory.ResultsMost parents reported positive child behaviour despite several challenges, but a substantial subset reported periods of relapse in positive outcomes. A relapse in child behaviour was linked to relinquishing skills in stressful times, the negative influence of an unsupportive environment, and the perceived ineffectiveness of parenting skills. Resilience in implementing skills despite adversity, and the utilization of available social supports, were associated with the maintenance of positive outcomes.ConclusionsStrengthening resilience and social support capacities may be important factors in maintaining positive longer-term outcomes. Those who design, research and deliver parenting programmes might consider the possibility of including a relapse-prevention module and/or the provision of post-intervention supports for more vulnerable families.

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