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Effects of Early Family/Parent Training Programs on Antisocial Behavior & Delinquency

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2008
123 pages
This literature review assessed research on the effects of early family/parent training on child behavioral problems, including antisocial behavior and delinquency, and identified those settings and conditions under which such training was most effective.
The review's findings indicate that early family/parent training reduces child behavioral problems, including antisocial behavior and delinquency. The effect of early family/parent training is apparently robust across various weighting procedures, contexts, time period, outcome source, and both published and unpublished data. The majority of the studies included in this meta-analysis used some type of parent training program. These programs began prior to childbirth or during early infancy. The programs typically involved either individual or group-based parent training sessions that were conducted in a clinic, school, or other type of community-based site. The main parenting intervention programs used were the Incredible Years Parenting Program, the Triple P-Positive Parenting Program, and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy. The features of each of these program types are briefly described. The review concludes that early family/parent training should continue to be used for the first 5 years of a child's life in order to prevent child behavioral problems. Future research on such programs should be designed to test the main theories of the effects of early family/parent training, with more attention given to the causal mechanisms by which these programs reduce delinquency and crime. Future evaluations of these programs should use high-quality evaluation designs with long-term followups, including repeated measures of antisocial behavior, delinquency, and crime over the life course. The review involved 55 studies that investigated the effects of early family/parent training on child behavior problems such as conduct problems, antisocial behavior, and delinquency. All studies used a randomized controlled evaluation design that provided before-and-after measures of child behavior among experimental and control subjects. 7 tables, 208 references, and appended parent/family meta-analysis coding sheets

Date Published: January 1, 2008