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10 December 2014

Irish results show Triple P’s impact across a population

An independent UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre evaluation of Triple P in Ireland shows a widespread rollout of Triple P has had population-wide health benefits for the community.

 

The Atlantic Philanthropies-funded evaluation of Triple P in the Irish Midlands from 2010—2013 found that the numbers of children with clinically elevated social, emotional and behavioral problems reduced by 37.5 per cent after the Triple P rollout.

 

Parents’ reported rates of psychological distress and stress (mild and moderate) decreased by 30 per cent.

 

 (To read the full report or see a video about the project, go to on the Midlands Area Parenting Partnership website)

 

The director of the Triple P initiative in Ireland, Conor Owens from Ireland’s Health Services Executive, said Triple P led to significant improvements for both parents and children in families who received the program, while families in the wider community were also shown to benefit.

 

“Participating parents have experienced significant lasting positive impact for their families,’’ Mr Owens said.

 

“In addition to their personal success, they have contributed to a ripple effect for positive parenting in the community. They have started a conversation to spread sound evidence and proven tips for raising children.

 

“This has resulted in a significant decrease in childhood emotional and behavioral problems and reported parental depression rates at the population level.  The impacts have been greater for families with higher levels of need.’’

 

A range of Triple P programs of differing intensity were provided free to all parents of children aged seven and younger in counties Longford and Westmeath between 2010 and 2013. The programs were delivered by a partnership of voluntary, statutory and community agencies to around 4500 parents. The Irish study compared results from 1500 randomly assigned interviews in the two Triple P counties with responses from approximately 1500 families in a larger county not using Triple P.

 

Triple P founder Professor Matt Sanders said the Midlands project was a best-practice example of community agencies working together to deliver a comprehensive evidence-based system of parenting programs to entire communities for the benefit of all.

 

 “This high-quality evaluation demonstrates the power of local partnerships developing a shared vision about supporting all parents in the task of raising children. The adoption and then careful implementation of the Triple P system across the entire community benefited children, their parents and the entire community.’’

 

The associate director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, Dr John Canavan, said it is important that large-scale interventions be properly assessed before wider implementation.

“It is vital that we are clear on what the benefits and challenges are when trying to change the outcomes for children and families,’’ Dr Canavan said. “Research such as this is crucial to our understanding.’’

 

The director of Public Health for Dublin Mid-Leinster (Midlands) for the Health Services Executive, Dr Phil Jennings, said:  “All involved, including the parents who participated, should be congratulated for an outstanding contribution to the wellbeing of children.’’

 

Following the rollout of Triple P in Longford and Westmeath, the delivery of Triple P was extended to other areas in the Irish Midlands.  Parents have now attended more than 10,000 Triple P courses and sessions across four counties.

 

Read more about the Irish Midlands project: