Prevention Science

, 6:287 | Cite as

Prevention of Child Behavior Problems Through Universal Implementation of a Group Behavioral Family Intervention

  • Stephen R. ZubrickEmail author
  • Kristine A. Ward
  • Sven R. Silburn
  • David Lawrence
  • Anwen A. Williams
  • Eve Blair
  • Deborah Robertson
  • Matthew R. Sanders

The aim of this mental health promotion initiative was to evaluate the effectiveness of a universally delivered group behavioral family intervention (BFI) in preventing behavior problems in children. This study investigates the transferability of an efficacious clinical program to a universal prevention intervention delivered through child and community health services targeting parents of preschoolers within a metropolitan health region. A quasi-experimental two-group (BFI, n = 804 vs. Comparison group, n = 806) longitudinal design followed preschool aged children and their parents over a 2-year period. BFI was associated with significant reductions in parent- reported levels of dysfunctional parenting and parent-reported levels of child behavior problems. Effect sizes on child behavior problems ranged from large (.83) to moderate (.47). Positive and significant effects were also observed in parent mental health, marital adjustment, and levels of child rearing conflict. Findings are discussed with respect to their implication for significant population reductions in child behavior problems as well as the pragmatic challenges for prevention science in encouraging both the evaluation and uptake of preventive initiatives in real world settings.


prevention conduct problems parent training 



The Telethon Institute for Child Health Research worked in close collaboration with the Public Health and Mental Health Divisions of the Health Department of WA, the Western Australian Department of Family and Children Services, the Education Department of WA, and the Parenting and Family Support Centre, School of Psychology at the University of Queensland. Thanks to Dr. Andrew Penman for initiating this project and to Barbara Hughes and to the staff of the Eastern Metropolitan Public and Community Health Service, the Kalamunda Health Service, and the Swan Health Service who implemented it. Peta Serna recruited parents and collected the comparison group data. Finally, particular thanks to our secretary Helen Howells and to Professors Nick deKlerk, Carol Bower, Fiona Stanley, Wendy Hall, D’Arcy Holman, Nadine Henley, and Dr. Davina French who read and commented on drafts of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen R. Zubrick
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    Email author
  • Kristine A. Ward
    • 2
  • Sven R. Silburn
    • 1
    • 2
  • David Lawrence
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anwen A. Williams
    • 2
  • Eve Blair
    • 2
  • Deborah Robertson
    • 2
  • Matthew R. Sanders
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Developmental HealthCurtin University of TechnologyPerthAustralia
  2. 2.Telethon Institute for Child Health ResearchPerthAustralia
  3. 3.School of PsychologyThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Telethon Institute for Child Health ResearchWest PerthWestern Australia, Australia

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