Research Studies and Results

Over the past 17 years, a series of studies evaluated the Incredible Years Parents, Teachers, and Children Training Series.2

Studies of the BASIC Parent Training Programs

Top
In the first study, 35 nonclinic families were randomly assigned to BASIC parent training or to a waiting-list control group. Results indicated that the BASIC programs caused highly significant attitudinal and behavioral changes in participating middle-class, nonclinic mothers and children (ages 3 to 6) compared with control groups. Nearly all the changes were maintained at the 1-year followup (Webster-Stratton, 1981, 1982a, 1982b).

A second study randomly assigned 35 clinic families (with children having conduct problems) to one of three groups:

  • One-on-one personalized parent therapy.

  • Videotape-based group therapy (BASIC).

  • Waiting-list control group.

These clinic families were at high risk because of the large number of single parents, low socioeconomic status, low mean education level, high prevalence of child abuse, and the deviant nature of the children. BASIC training was as effective as high-cost, one-on-one therapy, and both treatments were superior to the control group in regard to attitudinal and behavioral changes. Moreover, at the 1-year followup, no differences were noted between the two treatment groups, and most of the children continued to improve. BASIC training was five times more cost effective than one-on-one therapy, using 48 hours of therapist time versus 251 hours of therapist time. Approximately 70 percent of both treatment groups maintained significant positive behavioral changes at the 1-year followup. Families who had little or no social support were most likely to relapse following treatment (Webster-Stratton, 1984, 1985).

A third study was conducted to ascertain the most efficient and effective component of BASIC training. Parents of 114 conduct-problem children, ages 3 to 8, were randomly assigned to one of four groups:

  • Individually (or self-) administered videotape modeling (IVM).

  • Videotape-based group therapy (BASIC).

  • Group therapy alone (GD).

  • Waiting-list control group.

Compared with the control group, mothers in all three treatment groups reported significantly fewer child behavior problems, more prosocial behaviors, and less use of spanking following treatment. Fathers in the IVM and BASIC groups and teachers of children whose parents were in the BASIC and GD groups also reported significant reductions in behavior problems compared with control subjects. Data collected from home visits indicated that, for all treatment groups, mothers, fathers, and children exhibited significant behavioral changes. Relatively few differences were noted between treatment groups on most outcome measures, but these differences consistently favored BASIC training. Cost effectiveness, however, was the major advantage of the IVM treatment (Webster-Stratton, Kolpacoff, and Hollinsworth, 1988; Webster-Stratton, 1990b).

At the 1-year followup, 93.1 percent of families were assessed. All significant behavioral changes reported immediately after treatment were maintained 1 year later. Moreover, parent report data indicated that both mothers and fathers perceived a further reduction in child behavior problems. Few differences were found among the three treatment groups except for the differences in consumer satisfaction, which indicated that BASIC training was superior. With each of the treatment programs, 70 percent of the sample showed clinically significant improvement to within normal ranges (Webster-Stratton, Kolpacoff, and Hollinsworth, 1988).

A fourth study was conducted to determine how to enhance the effectiveness of the self-administered videotape therapy while maintaining its cost effectiveness. Parents of 43 conduct-problem children were assigned to one of three groups:

  • Individually administered videotape modeling (IVM) program.

  • IVM plus therapist consultation (IVMC).

  • Waiting-list control group.

In comparison with the control group, both groups of mothers receiving treatment reported significantly fewer child behavior problems, reduced stress levels, and less use of spanking after intervention. Data from home visits indicated that both treatment groups exhibited significant behavioral changes. Relatively few differences on the outcome measures were found between the two treatment conditions, but children in the IVMC group were significantly less deviant than the children in the individually administered videotape program, suggesting that combined treatment was superior (Webster-Stratton, 1990a).

A fifth study examined the effectiveness of BASIC training as a universal prevention intervention with a sample of 362 Head Start mothers and their 4-year-old children. Eight Head Start centers were randomly assigned to two groups:

  • An experimental group in which parents, teachers, and family service workers participated in the intervention.

  • A control group in which parents, teachers, and family service workers participated in the regular center-based Head Start program.

The results from observations at the post-intervention assessment indicated that mothers in the intervention group made significantly fewer critical remarks and commands, used less harsh discipline, and were more nurturing, reinforcing, and competent in their parenting when compared with mothers in the control group. Intervention mothers reported that their discipline was more consistent and that they used fewer physically and verbally negative discipline techniques. They also used more appropriate limit-setting techniques. In turn, the children of mothers in the intervention group exhibited significantly fewer negative behaviors and conduct problems, less noncompliance, less negative affect and more positive affect, and more prosocial behaviors than children in the control group. One year later, most of the improvements noted in the intervention mothers' parenting skills and in their children's affect and behavior were maintained, including increased contacts with new teachers, as compared with mothers in the control group (Webster-Stratton, 1998). These results were recently replicated in a seventh study (discussed on page 18) that offered a longer parent program spanning the Head Start and kindergarten years.

Study of the ADVANCE Parent Training Programs

Top
A sixth study (Webster-Stratton, 1994) examined the effects of adding the ADVANCE intervention component to the BASIC intervention. Parents of 78 families with children with ODD/CD received the BASIC parent training and then were randomly assigned to either ADVANCE training for 12 weeks or no further contact. Families were assessed at 1 month, 1 year, and 2 years after treatment through parent and teacher reports of child adjustment and parent distress (i.e., depression, anger, and stress) and direct observations of parent-child interactions and marital interactions such as discussing a problem. For both treatment groups, child adjustment and parent-child interactions significantly improved and parent distress and child behavior problems decreased. These changes were maintained at followup. In comparison with their counterparts, ADVANCE children showed significant increases in the total number of solutions generated during problem solving, most notably in prosocial solutions as compared with aggressive solutions. Observations of parents' marital interactions indicated significant improvements in ADVANCE parents' communication, problem solving, and collaboration when compared with parents who did not receive ADVANCE training. Only one family dropped out of ADVANCE training, which attests to its perceived usefulness by families. All the families attended more than two-thirds of the sessions, with the majority attending more than 90 percent of the sessions.

Study of the Teacher Training Programs With the BASIC Plus ADVANCE Parent Training Programs

Top
A seventh study examined the effectiveness of the BASIC plus ADVANCE programs and the teacher training programs with a sample of 272 Head Start mothers and 61 teachers. Fourteen Head Start centers were randomly assigned to two groups:
  • An experimental condition in which parents, teachers, and family service workers participated in the prevention programs (BASIC plus ADVANCE plus EDUCATION and teacher training).

  • A control condition in which parents, teachers, and family service workers participated in the regular center-based Head Start program (control).

The combined BASIC plus ADVANCE plus EDUCATION program was a 16-week, 2-hour weekly parent program offered by Family Service Workers. The 12-week BASIC program was offered to parents in the Head Start year and a 4-week abbreviated version of ADVANCE plus EDUCATION program was offered in the kindergarten year (based on problem solving with partners and teachers, promoting reading and academic skills, and peer coaching). All teachers and aides received 6-day workshops sequenced over the year (monthly), which focused on classroom management skills, relationship building with students and parents, and ways to promote social and emotional competence in the classroom. Those in the control Head Start centers received their usual services.

Home observations indicated that mothers in the intervention group were significantly less harsh and critical in their discipline approaches and significantly more positive and nurturing and that they used more problem-solving approaches in their interactions with their children than mothers in the control group. Intervention mothers reported that their discipline was more positive and less harsh or punitive, that they used more monitoring, and that they were more involved in activities with their children than control mothers. Teachers reported that mothers in the intervention group were more involved in their children's education. Children of mothers who attended six or more intervention sessions received lower ratings on independent observations of inappropriate behavior than children in the control group and were observed to exhibit significantly fewer negative behaviors and conduct problems, less noncompliance, and less negative affect than children in the control group.

Results of classroom observations indicated that teachers in the intervention group were significantly less critical in their discipline approaches and more positive in their interactions with their students than teachers in the control group. Teachers from the intervention condition reported making significantly more effort to involve parents in their classrooms than control teachers. Students in the intervention classrooms were observed to exhibit significantly fewer negative behaviors, less noncompliance with teachers, and less physical aggression with peers than students in control classrooms. Intervention children were more engaged or on task in the classroom and had higher school readiness scores (e.g., friendly, self-reliant, on task, low disruption) than control children. Overall classroom atmosphere was significantly more positive for intervention classrooms than control classrooms. Teachers also reported the intervention students to be more socially competent than the control students.

One year later, most of the improvements noted in the intervention mothers' parenting skills and in their children's affect and behavior were maintained. Two-year followups are currently being conducted. (Webster-Stratton and Reid, 1999a, 1999b).

Study of the Child Training Programs (Dina Dinosaur Curriculum)

Top
The Dina Dinosaur curriculum for children was evaluated in a randomized trial with 4- to 7-year-olds who had conduct disorders. Families of 97 children with early-onset conduct problems were randomly assigned to one of four groups:
  • Child training only.

  • Parent training only (BASIC plus ADVANCE).

  • Combined parent and child training intervention.

  • Waiting-list control group.

Results showed that the combined parent and child training was more effective than parent training alone and that both were superior to the control group. The child training programs resulted in significant improvements in observed peer interactions. Children who had gone through the Dinosaur curriculum were significantly more positive in their social skills and conflict management strategies with peers than either children whose parents received parent training only or children in the control group. One year later, the combined parent and child intervention showed the most sustained effects (Webster-Stratton and Hammond, 1997).

Analyses of the clinical significance (measured by reduction in total child deviant behaviors at home) revealed that the combined parent and child intervention showed the most sustained effects on child behavior, with a 95-percent decrease in deviant behaviors since baseline (compared with reduction of 74 percent for the child-only condition and 60 percent for the BASIC plus ADVANCE parent condition) (Webster-Stratton and Reid, 1999c).

Study of the Teacher Training Programs With the BASIC Plus ADVANCE Plus EDUCATION Parent Training Programs and the Child Training Programs

Top
The Incredible Years Teacher Training Program was evaluated in a randomized trial with 133 children with early onset conduct problems. Families were randomly assigned to one of six groups:
  • Parent training (BASIC plus ADVANCE) only.

  • Child training (Dina Dinosaur Curriculum) only.

  • Parent training (BASIC plus ADVANCE plus EDUCATION) and teacher training.

  • Parent training (BASIC plus ADVANCE plus EDUCATION), teacher training, and child training.

  • Child training and teacher training.

  • Waiting-list control group.

The BASIC plus ADVANCE parent training consisted of twenty-two 2-hour weekly sessions as described above. The parent training condition that included teacher training also included the EDUCATION program, a parent training component related to helping parents promote children's academic skills through effective reading skills, homework routines, and enhanced collaboration with teachers. The 20- to 22-week child training program is described above. The teacher training component consisted of four full-day workshops offered monthly and a minimum of two school consultations in which the parent and group leader met with the teacher at school to plan an individual behavior plan. Regular calls were made to teachers to support their efforts and to inform them of the progress of the child at home.

Results immediately posttreatment suggest that combining EDUCATION training for parents with training for teachers improves children's outcomes in terms of strengthening both academic and social skills in the classroom, promoting more positive peer relationships, and ensuring that behavior problems are reduced at school and at home (Webster-Stratton and Reid, 1999c).


2 Sources marked by an asterisk in the lists of References and Related Readings at the end of this Bulletin provide descriptions and evaluations of the Incredible Years Parents, Teachers, and Children Training Series.

Previous Contents Next

Line
The Incredible Years Training Series Juvenile Justice Bulletin June 2000