A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mother–Infant or Toddler Parenting Program: Demonstrating Effectiveness in Practice*

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Describes outcomes of an intervention aimed to improve infant or toddler care and reduce parental distress.


A randomized controlled trial method was used with 118 mothers. Participants were allocated to an intervention group (n=65) or an enhanced waitlist group (n=53). Measures were taken at pre-, post-, and 6-weeks follow-up.


Results demonstrated that mothers who attended the program reported improvement in depression, anxiety, stress, parental satisfaction, and decreases in problematic child behavior. Improvements were maintained at the 6-week follow up. Intention-to-treat analysis replicated the results, although with smaller effect sizes.


The results of this study demonstrate that delivery of a 1 day intervention for distressed mothers can contribute to lower levels of parental distress and child problem behavior. Given the importance of early mother–child relationships and the limited number of well-controlled studies on brief interventions this result is of significance to researchers and the service community.

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