Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 24, Issue 7, pp 1861–1875 | Cite as

Incredible Years Parent Training: Does it Improve Positive Relationships in Portuguese Families of Preschoolers with Oppositional/Defiant Symptoms?

  • Tatiana Carvalho HomemEmail author
  • Maria Filomena Gaspar
  • Maria João Seabra Santos
  • Andreia Fernandes Azevedo
  • Maria Cristina Canavarro
Original Paper


Children with behavior externalizing disorders are difficult to cope with and might have a negative impact on parent–child interactions and couples relationships, as well as on parents’ psychological adjustment. The present study evaluates the effectiveness of a parent training program [Incredible Years (IY) Basic Program] for improving positive relationships in Portuguese families of preschoolers with symptoms of oppositional/defiant disorder. Eighty-three families randomly assigned to an IY intervention (n = 44) or to a waiting list control group (CG; n = 39) were evaluated, at baseline and 6 months after the intervention, on the following variables: mothers observed positive parenting practices and coaching skills; mothers’ self-reported dysfunctional parenting practices; mothers’ depressive symptoms; perceived couples intimacy; and children’s behavior. Moreover, families who had received the IY program were also assessed in the same variables 12-months after baseline. Observed and self-reported positive parenting practices, couples openness to exterior and children’s oppositional behavior improved significantly more from pre- to post-assessment in the intervention group (IG) than in the CG (medium to large effect sizes). Changes observed in the IG were sustained at the 12-month follow-up. However, the improvements in coaching skills that had been observed at the 6 months follow-up in the IG decreased over time. The findings indicate that the IY Parent Program is a promising intervention to promote more positive parent–child relationships, decrease children’s oppositional behaviors and develop couple’s willingness to open to the exterior, from the mother’s point of view.


Incredible Years Family positive relationships ODD symptoms Preschoolers 



This work was supported by the Foundation for Science and Technology (PhD Grant: SFRH/BD/43562/2008; project research grant: PTDC/PSI-PED/102556/2008, also funded by the program Compete in its component Feder).We are very grateful to all the parents and children that kindly participated in this study; and to our project team (group leaders, evaluators and advisers) for their involvement and constant support.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests with respect to the present paper research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tatiana Carvalho Homem
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maria Filomena Gaspar
    • 1
  • Maria João Seabra Santos
    • 1
  • Andreia Fernandes Azevedo
    • 1
  • Maria Cristina Canavarro
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculdade de Psicologia e Ciências da Educação daUniversidade de CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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