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Brief Parenting Support for Parents of Teenagers Dealing with Family Conflict: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial



There is a need for research to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of alternative delivery methods to make evidence-based parenting programs more accessible to parents of teenagers.


This study aimed to test the efficacy of a 2-h parenting discussion group for parents of adolescents experiencing family conflict. It was hypothesised that parents attending the discussion group would report reductions in family conflict and adolescent behavior problems and improvements in the parent–adolescent relationship and parenting in comparison to control parents.


This study was a randomized controlled trial. Ninety parents of teenagers (11–16 years; M = 13.23 years) were randomly allocated to intervention (n = 43) or waitlist conditions (n = 47) and completed questionnaires of parent–adolescent and family conflict, adolescent behavior, the parent–adolescent relationship and parenting at pre- and post-intervention and 6-month follow up.


At post-intervention, intervention parents reported greater declines in adolescent oppositional behavior problems in comparison to controls. No intervention effects were found for parent–adolescent or family conflict, or for the parent–adolescent relationship and parenting practices.


Brief parenting interventions may offer an alternative strategy for supporting parents to deal with challenging adolescent behavior, but further research is required to determine if this type of brief and targeted intervention is effective for family conflict. Such research is important given the need for effective and easily deployable prevention and intervention approaches that address a problem that has significant impact on adolescent wellbeing and family functioning.

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Fig. 1


  1. The median family income in Australian in 2016 was $90,168 (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017).

  2. Zlomke et al. (2013) reported that 9 items loaded on this factor in their analyses. However, we removed two items from this subscale as they loaded higher on other factors and had factor loadings less than the conventional .3 for inclusion in a factor. Specifically, item 5 loaded .36 on the positive parenting subscale, but only .26 on discipline practices, while item 39 loaded − .41 on discipline processes but only .29 on discipline practices. Removing these items made no difference to the results of the MANCOVA analyses on the APQ.


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This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Correspondence to Cassandra K. Dittman.

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Conflict of interest

The Parenting and Family Support Centre is partly funded by royalties stemming from published resources of the Triple P—Positive Parenting Program, which is developed and owned by The University of Queensland (UQ). Royalties are also distributed to the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences at UQ and contributory authors of published Triple P resources. Triple P International (TPI) Pty Ltd is a private company licensed by Uniquest Pty Ltd on behalf of UQ, to publish and disseminate Triple P worldwide. The authors of this report have no share or ownership of TPI. Authors Burke and Hodges are employed by and Dr. Dittman holds an honorary appointment with The University of Queensland. Dr. Dittman is an author on a Triple P Program, but not the program under evaluation in this study. Drs. Dittman, Burke and Hodges may in the future receive royalties and/or consultancy fees from TPI.

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All procedures performed in this study, which involved human participants, were in accordance with the ethical standards of the authors’ institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all participants in the study.

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Dittman, C.K., Burke, K. & Hodges, J. Brief Parenting Support for Parents of Teenagers Dealing with Family Conflict: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Child Youth Care Forum 49, 799–816 (2020).

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