Parenting intervention to help children with behaviour problems in child protection and other family support services

Piia Karjalainen

Forskningsoutput: AvhandlingDoktorsavhandlingSamling av artiklar


This thesis uses a randomized controlled trial (RCT) study setting to investigate the effectiveness of a parenting intervention (the Incredible Years®, IY) in modifying children’s behaviour problems, parenting practices and parents’ psychological well-being among families in child protection and other special support services. The study also explored parent’s perceptions of the program. A systematic review of the literature confirmed that there is solid research evidence on the effectiveness of parenting programs on child behaviour and parenting practices. However, the review also revealed a lack of evidence of the effectiveness of these programs with families in touch with child protection services (CPS). The study examined the effects of the intervention on child problem behaviour, parenting practices and parent’s well-being. Participants in the study were 3–7-year-old children with behaviour problems (N = 102, intervention group N = 50, control group N = 52) and their parents (N = 122). Parents in the intervention group received 19 sessions of the long IY Preschool Basic parenting program and the controls received treatment as usual (TAU), while on the waiting list (WL) for the next available parent group organized after the study. Results of the study show that child problem behaviour decreased more in the intervention group in comparison to control group before and after the intervention, when measured by using scale scores of ECBI Problem and cut-offs for clinically relevant cases (ECBI Problem and CBCL External). The intervention also increased positive parenting practices, although changes in parental stress or parents’ psychological well-being in the intervention group did not differ from parents in the control group. Child behaviour problems decreased at one year follow-up in both the intervention (N = 44) and the control groups (N = 45), although no differences between the groups were evident at the follow-up. The positive changes in child behaviour at home were not evident at day care or school at baseline, post-intervention or one-year follow-up, and there were no significant differences between the groups. The study also compared parents with (N = 43) and without (N = 19) CPS contact in terms of their satisfaction with the IY® Parenting Program. Satisfaction scores ranged between 5.8 and 6.2 (max 7) for all studied intervention domains. Mean attendance rate in the group sessions was 11.5 (SD 5.9), and 74% of participants attended at least nine out of 19 sessions. No group differences were found in satisfaction or attendance between CPS and non-CPS parents. Parents in CPS committed well to the program and found it as useful as parents without CPS contact. The results of the present study indicate promising evidence that parenting interventions such as the IY® parenting program may be effective in terms of child conduct problems in the short term in families within the CPS context. Sustaining the positive effects and generalizing them to day care and school contexts remains challenging in the context of child protection and other family support services in real-life conditions. IY® parenting program appears to be acceptable to parents involved in CPS, and their engagement to the program can be considered as reasonably good.
  • Aronen, Eeva, Handledare
  • Santalahti, Päivi , Handledare
  • Kiviruusu, Olli, Handledare, Extern person
Tryckta ISBN978-951-51-7143-6
Elektroniska ISBN978-951-51-7144-3
StatusPublicerad - 2021
MoE-publikationstypG5 Doktorsavhandling (artikel)

Bibliografisk information

M1 - 120 s. + liitteet


  • 3123 Kvinno- och barnsjukdomar
  • 3124 Neurologi och psykiatri

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