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27-12-2016 | Uitgave 2/2017

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 2/2017

Potential Mediators in Parenting and Family Intervention: Quality of Mediation Analyses

Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review > Uitgave 2/2017
Chandni C. Patel, Amanda J. Fairchild, Ronald J. Prinz


Parenting and family interventions have repeatedly shown effectiveness in preventing and treating a range of youth outcomes. Accordingly, investigators in this area have conducted a number of studies using statistical mediation to examine some of the potential mechanisms of action by which these interventions work. This review examined from a methodological perspective in what ways and how well the family-based intervention studies tested statistical mediation. A systematic search identified 73 published outcome studies that tested mediation for family-based interventions across a wide range of child and adolescent outcomes (i.e., externalizing, internalizing, and substance-abuse problems; high-risk sexual activity; and academic achievement), for putative mediators pertaining to positive and negative parenting, family functioning, youth beliefs and coping skills, and peer relationships. Taken as a whole, the studies used designs that adequately addressed temporal precedence. The majority of studies used the product of coefficients approach to mediation, which is preferred, and less limiting than the causal steps approach. Statistical significance testing did not always make use of the most recently developed approaches, which would better accommodate small sample sizes and more complex functions. Specific recommendations are offered for future mediation studies in this area with respect to full longitudinal design, mediation approach, significance testing method, documentation and reporting of statistics, testing of multiple mediators, and control for Type I error.

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