Training parents to manage difficult children : a comparison of methods
This study examined the efficacy of training parents in skills of child management. The parents had all sought help in coping with their pre-school children, and understood that training would be based upon social learning/behavioural principles. A pilot study, which compared the progress of five children visited at home and six whose parents were in weekly telephone contact with the author, gave encouraging results. Thirty seven children, six girls and thirty one boys, were then randomly allocated to one of four methods of training: group, home visit, telephone or waiting list/delayed intervention control. Participants in the three active intervention conditions were assessed pre- and post intervention. Participants in the waiting list/delayed intervention condition were assessed before and after an eight-weeks waiting period; they were then randomly reallocated to one of the three active intervention methods. Seven children were lost during the study, leaving thirty. Results indicated clinical improvement for all three active intervention conditions compared to the waiting list control condition. There were no significant differences between any of the three active intervention methods, either at post-intervention or at twelve to eighteen months follow-up. The results are discussed in terms of their theoretical and practical implications.