Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 419–426 | Cite as

A Pilot Study of a Self-Administered Parent Training Intervention for Building Preschoolers’ Social–Emotional Competence

  • Rebecca N. ThomsonEmail author
  • John S. Carlson


Social–emotional skills are equally as crucial for school success as cognitive and academic skills (Webster-Stratton and Reid in Infants Young Child 17:96–113, 2004), yet many young children lack these skills (Lavigne et al. in J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 35:204–214, 1996). Therefore, it is essential to invest in the development of social–emotional competence at an early age—a task that necessitates active parent involvement (Webster-Stratton and Reid 2004). This pilot study explored the effectiveness, integrity, and acceptability of a self-administered parent training intervention [Devereux Early Childhood Assessment—Second Edition (DECA-P2) family guide (Mackrain and Cairone in Promoting resilience for now and forever: a family guide for supporting the social and emotional development of preschool children, 2nd edn. Kaplan Early Learning Company, Lewisville, 2013)] targeting the promotion of social–emotional competence in young children (N = 12). Pre- and post-test parent reports revealed that children’s social–emotional competence increased and behavior problems decreased following program completion. Parent ratings indicated the intervention was carried out as intended (i.e., integrity) and that it was helpful (i.e., acceptability). These exploratory findings suggest that this self-administered parent intervention shows promise as an alternative to face-to-face early childhood prevention services.


Protective factors Social–emotional competence Early childhood Preschool Parent training Self-administered intervention 



This research was supported by funds from the Michigan State University (MSU) College of Education and the MSU Graduate School.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

All procedures performed in this pilot study were approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Michigan State University. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the pilot study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special EducationMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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