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05 February 2021


Improved parenting and reduced child behavior difficulties are among the benefits of Group Triple P for low-income, unemployed parents in Portugal, according to a newly published randomized controlled trial (RCT).

The study is likely to be of interest to policy makers in many countries, with increased attention being given to the value of PCEs (positive childhood experiences) alongside the known negative effects of ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) and widespread concern about the number of families living in poverty as a result of the global pandemic.

The sample included 134 unemployed mothers from low-income families with children aged 3-12 years. Group Triple P was slightly modified by splitting two group sessions into four, resulting in a total of six group sessions and three telephone consultations. Assessments were taken on a range of child and parent outcomes at baseline, post-intervention, six- and 12- months after baseline.

Findings indicated significant improvements in child and parent outcomes from baseline to post-intervention, with improvements maintained at 6- and 12-months, namely:

  • Reduced child behaviour difficulties (including emotional symptoms, hyperactivity symptoms, and total behaviour difficulties).
  • Improved parenting practices (increased use of positive parenting strategies, reduced parental laxness and over-reactivity, and ineffective parenting).
  • Improved parental competence (satisfaction and self-efficacy).
  • Improved family social support network.


Poverty is widespread in Portugal, and while efforts continue to provide basic essentials to families a priority, this study also demonstrates how a positive parenting program may act as a protective factor against childhood adversities in vulnerable, low-income families.

It was the first ever Triple P evaluation study done in Portugal..