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31-01-2019 | Original Paper

Change in Mothers’ Perception of Well-being and Distress following Treatment of Child Conduct Problems

Journal of Child and Family Studies
Roar Solholm, Ragnhild Bjørknes, Reidar Jakobsen
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Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.



Raising children with conduct problems represents a special challenge, and parents of these children often experience parenting stress and develop other adjustment problems of their own. However, there is little knowledge as to how participation in treatment influences parental adjustment problems, for instance parental experience of stress and well-being. The aim of this study is to investigate possible changes in mothers’ perception of well-being and distress over the course of the treatment of child conduct problems.


The study used mothers’ reports from two interconnected studies of PMTO in Norway, a randomized controlled study, and a large-scale implementation study.


The levels of psychological stress were high, both in terms of general symptoms of anxiety and depression, and problems with everyday functioning indicating stress that is more chronic. Several measures of well-being and distress showed significant change over the period from intake to post treatment. The changes were significantly related to perceived change in children’s conduct problems (all p < .05), but this only predicted a small part of the variance (all ΔR2 < .03).


The result indicates that mothers’ involvement in the treatment of their child’s conduct problems results in beneficial effect on mothers’ perception of well-being and distress, regardless of treatment condition. Other factors that alter children’s conduct problems are responsible for this change. Interpretations and potential implications of the findings are discussed.

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