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Behavioral parent training (BPT) is a widely used, evidence-based treatment for externalizing child behaviors. However, the ability of BPT programs to be maximally effective remains limited by relatively low rates of acceptance, attendance, and adherence to treatment. Previous reviews have focused on a variety of demographic and mental health characteristics of parents and children that are predictive of poor outcomes in BPT. This paper focuses instead on consideration of parental social cognitions, and how incorporation of these cognitions may, or may not, be useful in advancing the effectiveness of BPT. We first review evidence suggesting limited incremental effects to incorporating parental cognitions within the context of BPT programs. Then, we examine the role of two particular types of parental social cognitions, attributions and parenting efficacy, in relation to the initial stages of accepting and engaging in BPT. We conclude by noting limitations in available research on the links between parental social cognitions and BPT, and we outline a number of potentially useful directions that may clarify whether or not parental social cognitions should be accorded greater attention either in the initial stages or throughout BPT programs.
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- Parental Social Cognitions: Considerations in the Acceptability of and Engagement in Behavioral Parent Training
Janet W. T. Mah
- Springer US