Past evidence of success of flagship parenting programme called into question

November 5, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—The Triple P positive parenting programme has been hailed as a success around the world and invested in heavily by public bodies in Scotland, the UK and beyond.

But a new collaborative study led by the University of Aberdeen has called into question the for the effectiveness of the programme.

Their findings have been published in the journal BMC Medicine.

Triple P was created by Matthew R. Sanders and colleagues at the University of Queensland in Australia and evolved from a small 'home-based, individually administered training programme for parents of disruptive ' into a comprehensive preventive whole-population intervention programme.

Triple P is one of the central components in the newly published National Parenting Strategy for Scotland and a multi million pound initiative is currently running in Glasgow.

Professor Philip Wilson, Professor of Primary Care and Rural Health at the University of Aberdeen led the study in collaboration with researchers from the Universities of Glasgow and Gothenburg.

He said: "There's a huge amount of policy interest in parenting programmes generally in the UK and beyond, and public bodies throughout the world have invested heavily in them. In Glasgow for example, millions of pounds have been invested in Triple P over the last three years.

"Much of this policy interest stems from an evidence base which hails the success of Triple P but we found that when this was examined in detail, many of the claims are difficult to support."

Professor Wilson and his team of researchers conducted a systematic review of 33 English language studies which have assessed the outcomes of Triple P programmes.

Of these, the majority compared Triple P to with something else – generally a sample where half the participants were given the intervention immediately and the other half at a later date.

Professor Wilson argues that as a result of the method most commonly used to determine the success of Triple P, long term outcomes are impossible to assess.

"The waiting list control group method means that you cannot meaningfully report the long-term outcomes of Triple P because in the end both groups have completed the programme," he added.

"We also found that most of the papers failed to focus on a single pre-specified outcome, instead they reported a wide variety of outcomes, ranging from parenting attitudes and mental state to child behaviour and marital satisfaction. This approach runs the risk of allowing biased reporting of the outcomes that are most positive, and evidence of this type of bias was found in many of the published papers

"Our review of the evidence also indicates that only mothers reported an improvement in their children's behaviour. No significant difference was noted by fathers or independent observers of the children's behaviour."

Professor Wilson is now calling for a thorough review of the Triple P system and its evidence base by policymakers.

"We are not saying that it doesn't work but that there is only limited evidence that it works - and this is something which should be urgently addressed. Large scale implementation should only take place where there is an accompanying independent evaluation. We are pleased to see that in some areas such as Glasgow, the success or otherwise of the programme will be monitored independently"

"We would like to see the same rigour used in assessing the outcomes of Triple P and other psychological or social interventions as we look for in assessing drug trials. In particular we recommend that there should be registration of trials, a standardised model of reporting which includes an even-handed presentation of all the results and clear statements about authors' financial conflicts of interest."

Explore further: Disruptive children and their parents benefit from parenting classes

Related Stories

Disruptive children and their parents benefit from parenting classes

March 13, 2012
Children with disruptive behavioural problems and their parents can benefit from peer led parenting classes, claims a study published today in the British Medical Journal.

The parenthood paradox: Certain parenting beliefs are detrimental to mothers' mental health

July 5, 2012
Does being an intense mother make women unhappy? According to a new study by Kathryn Rizzo and colleagues, from the University of Mary Washington in the US, women who believe in intensive parenting - i.e., that women are ...

Breaking the backbone of triple-negative breast cancers

March 19, 2012
Putting the brakes on an abundant growth-promoting protein causes breast tumors to regress, according to a study published on March 19th in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Drug shows promise for triple-negative breast cancer

July 3, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- A promising new therapy for hard-to-treat triple-negative breast cancer has been reported in the journal Breast Cancer Research by a team at the Tulane University School of Medicine, led by Dr. Bridgette ...

Recommended for you

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

Best of Last Year – The top Medical Xpress articles of 2016

December 23, 2016
(Medical Xpress)—It was a big year for research involving overall health issues, starting with a team led by researchers at the UNC School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health who unearthed more evidence that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.