Prevention Science

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 707–717 | Cite as

A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of a Brief Parenting Intervention in Low-Resource Settings in Panama

  • Anilena Mejia
  • Rachel Calam
  • Matthew R. Sanders


The aim of this study was to determine whether an intervention from the Triple P Positive Parenting Program system was effective in reducing parental reports of child behavioral difficulties in urban low-income settings in Panama City. A pilot parallel-group randomized controlled trial was carried out. A total of 108 parents of children 3 to 12 years old with some level of parent-rated behavioral difficulties were randomly assigned to a discussion group on “dealing with disobedience” or to a no intervention control. Blinded assessments were carried out prior to the intervention, 2 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months later. Results indicated that parental reports of child behavioral difficulties changed over time and decreased more steeply in the intervention than in the control group. The effects of the intervention on parental reports of behavioral difficulties were moderate at post-intervention and 3-month follow-up, and large at 6-month follow-up. Parents who participated in the discussion group reported fewer behavioral difficulties in their children after the intervention than those in the control condition. They also reported reduced parental stress and less use of dysfunctional parenting practices. There is a limited amount of evidence on the efficacy of parenting interventions in low-resource settings. This pilot trial was carried out using a small convenience sample living in low-income urban communities in Panama City, and therefore, the findings are of reduced generalizability to other settings. However, the methodology employed in this trial represents an example for future work in other low-resource settings.


Parenting Low-resource settings Child behavioral difficulties 


Conflict of Interest

A Mejia is chair of the LMIC Triple P Research Network. She carried out this RCT as part of her PhD project at the University of Manchester. Triple P provided for free training and materials for the conduction of the study. R Calam has long-standing research collaborations with staff at the Parenting and Family Support Centre (PFSC), School of Psychology, University of Queensland (UQ). She has been a board member of the Triple P Research Network and is currently on the Triple P International Scientific Advisory Committee in a research capacity. The Parenting and Family Research Group at The University of Manchester and its members have no share in, ownership of, or formal relationship with Triple P International Pty Ltd and derive no funding or royalty from it. Triple P is owned by UQ. The University through its main technology transfer company, UniQuest Pty Ltd, has licensed Triple P International Pty Ltd to publish and disseminate the program worldwide. Royalties stemming from published Triple P resources are distributed to the PFSC, School of Psychology, Faculty of Health and Behavioral Sciences, and contributory authors. No author has any share or ownership in Triple P International Pty Ltd. MR Sanders is the founder and an author on various Triple P programs and a consultant to Triple P International.

Registration of trial, NCT0177106


The National Secretariat of Science and Technology in Panama (SENACYT) funded this study.


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anilena Mejia
    • 1
  • Rachel Calam
    • 1
  • Matthew R. Sanders
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Psychological SciencesThe University of ManchesterManchesterEngland
  2. 2.The University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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