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18-05-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 10/2017 Open Access

Journal of Child and Family Studies 10/2017

Family Resources and Effects on Child Behavior Problem Interventions: A Cumulative Risk Approach

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 10/2017
Truls Tømmerås, John Kjøbli


Family resources have been associated with health care inequality in general and with social gradients in treatment outcomes for children with behavior problems. However, there is limited evidence concerning cumulative risk—the accumulation of social and economic disadvantages in a family—and whether cumulative risk moderates the outcomes of evidence-based parent training interventions. We used data from two randomized controlled trials evaluating high-intensity (n = 137) and low-intensity (n = 216) versions of Parent Management Training—Oregon (PMTO) with a 50:50 allocation between participants receiving PMTO interventions or regular care. A nine-item family cumulative risk index tapping socioeconomic resources and parental health was constructed to assess the family’s exposure to risk. Autoregressive structured equation models (SEM) were run to investigate whether cumulative risk moderated child behaviors at post-treatment and follow-up (6 months). Our results showed opposite social gradients for the treatment conditions: the children exposed to cumulative risk in a pooled sample of both PMTO groups displayed lower levels of behavior problems, whereas children with identical risk exposures who received regular care experienced more problems. Furthermore, our results indicated that the social gradients differed between PMTO interventions: children exposed to cumulative risk in the low-intensity (five sessions) Brief Parent Training fared equally well as their high-resource counterparts, whereas children exposed to cumulative risk in the high-intensity PMTO (12 sessions) experienced vastly better treatment effects. Providing evidence-based parent training seem to be an effective way to counteract health care inequality, and the more intensive PMTO treatment seemed to be a particularly effective way to help families with cumulative risk.

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