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21 February 2013

New York Times commentator calls for Triple P to be part of the violence prevention conversation

New York Times social issues commentator David Bornstein has called for parenting support in general – and Triple P in particular – to be considered as a way to prevent child abuse, gun violence and mental health issues in the United States.

Writing in his online NY Times column Fixes,  Bornstein said any efforts to “reduce gun violence — or child abuse, intimate partner violence, suicide or sexual abuse — must include a serious discussion about how society can improve the quality of parenting.”


And while he highlighted a number of programs that had been shown to impact on child maltreatment statistics, he said the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program was the only one that could be delivered to an entire community, in the way successful public health campaigns had been.


“Can we influence a behavior that is rooted in upbringing and culture, affected by stress, and occurs mainly in private?” Bornstein asked readers.  “And even if we could reach large populations with evidence-based messages the way public health officials got people to quit smoking, wear seat belts or apply sunscreen, would it have an impact?”


Bornstein says Triple P could have that impact, pointing to the results of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded trial in South Carolina.


Bornstein’s piece also quoted Richard Barth, dean of the University of Maryland School of Social Work, who has studied parenting programs for 30 years.


Bornstein quoted Barth as saying: “The Triple P study showed that if you engage people before things go awry, they can avoid problems that we might have predicted for them, or they might have predicted for themselves. There should be a significant investment in understanding how to implement some of the elements of Triple P — so every family and clinician in the United States knows the basics of parenting and the things we can do if things get more difficult.”


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