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08-03-2018 | Uitgave 8/2018

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 8/2018

Distance-Delivered Parent Training for Childhood Disruptive Behavior (Strongest Families™): a Randomized Controlled Trial and Economic Analysis

Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology > Uitgave 8/2018
Janine V. Olthuis, Patrick J. McGrath, Charles E. Cunningham, Michael H. Boyle, Patricia Lingley-Pottie, Graham J. Reid, Alexa Bagnell, Ellen L. Lipman, Karen Turner, Penny Corkum, Sherry H. Stewart, Patrick Berrigan, Kathy Sdao-Jarvie
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10802-018-0413-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


Disruptive behavior disorders are prevalent in youth, yet most children with disruptive behavior do not have access to timely, effective treatment. Distance-delivered service (e.g., via telephone, Internet) can overcome several barriers to care. This study tested the effectiveness of a 12-week parent training program, Strongest Families™ Parenting the Active Child, delivered via written material, skill-based videos, and telephone coaching sessions, as compared to usual care in reducing child externalizing behavior. Participants were 172 primary caregivers of a 6- to 12-year-old (29% girls; M age = 8.5 years) recruited from community children’s mental health clinics. Participants were randomized to either Strongest Families™ or usual care and completed measures of child externalizing behavior, parenting practices, parent distress, and intervention services consumed at baseline and 5-, 10-, 16-, and 22-months post-baseline. Growth curve analysis showed significant reductions in externalizing behavior in both conditions over time. Improvements were significantly greater at 10 months in the Strongest Families™ condition (d = 0.43). At 22 months, however, the differences were not significant and small in magnitude (d = −0.05). The intervention decreased inconsistent discipline significantly more than usual care. Parents in both conditions showed significant reductions in distress. We also conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis to assess the value for money of the Strongest Families™ program versus usual care. Distance parent training is a promising way to increase access to, and reduce costs associated with, mental health care for families with a child with disruptive behavior.

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