The evaluation, published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, examined data collected from parents who had previously completed the All Day Group Triple P program at the University of Queensland’s Child and Family Psychology Clinic, Australia.
The study found that improvements in parenting and family outcomes were “comparable in magnitude to those demonstrated in more rigorous trials for Group Triple P when delivered in the traditional 8-week format." Time constraints have been identified by previous researchers as one of the main barriers to taking part in parenting groups, so this new evaluation will be of particular interest to providers trying to support busy families.
Identified need for after-hours programs
“We know – not just anecdotally but from previous research - that many parents are looking for programs they can do after-hours or on weekends,” says lead researcher Dr. Cassandra Tellegen. “So it’s really important for those who work with families to know about these results and look at offering support that’s more time-efficient and convenient but still effective.”
The popular and frequently evaluated Group Triple P program is usually delivered in four weekly 2-hour sessions, followed by four 15-20 minute phone calls, over an 8-week period. While this suits many parents, there are others who could benefit from support but are unable to attend a series of group sessions; they either drop out of the course or never enroll in the first place.
By contrast, the All-Day Group Triple P format was delivered to parents as one 8-hour session on a Saturday, followed by 4 weekly telephone calls, making it easier for busy parents to attend without their children, but with their partners.
Mostly couples (fathers and mothers) took part
Of the total of 727 parents who did the All Day version of Group Triple P between 2001 and 2011, 303 participants had completed both pre- and post- evaluation questionnaires. This evaluation sample group was made up of 159 mothers and 144 fathers, most of whom were married and attending with their partner.
There was no control group as the study was a service-based evaluation rather than an efficacy trial. The data they had submitted was analyzed retrospectively, assessing their responses to clinical measures such as the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory, Parenting Scale, the DASS Depression Anxiety Stress Scale, and the Parent Problem Checklist.
Around a third of both mothers and fathers had previously sought professional help within the previous six months for at least one emotional, behavioral, or medical problem. Post-intervention scores showed significant improvements on the scales for:
- child problems
- parenting styles
- parental adjustment, and
- parental disagreement.
Reliable and clinically significant improvements were demonstrated, and high levels of program satisfaction reported.
While the researchers were somewhat surprised to find that there were no improvements in relationship quality, they suggested this was possibly due to the sample being largely made up of parents who were already generally happy in their relationship.
The results open up potential fields for further research, including comparing traditional weekly Group Triple P and all-day Group Triple P in a randomized controlled trial, and qualitative research to gather information about what parents themselves see as the advantages and disadvantages of the different formats.