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Evaluating a Self-Determination Theory-Based Preventive Parenting Consultation: The Parent Check-In

Abstract

Objectives

Parent training is the treatment of choice for many childhood problems; yet there are notable gaps among available treatments related to access, content, and target age-range. This study examined the feasibility and initial effects of the Parent Check-In, a two-session preventive intervention based on Self-Determination Theory. The intervention was designed to enhance parents’ motivation and promote parenting skills on dimensions of autonomy support, structure, and involvement.

Methods

Twenty-eight parents (27 mothers, 3 fathers, 2 participating as couples) of elementary school-age children (ages 8–12) participated in a pilot study with an intervention/waitlist control design.

Results

Results revealed that the Parent Check-In attracted parents from a range of families in varying degrees of distress, including several first-time treatment-seekers. Relative to a waitlist control group (n = 8), participants who received the Parent Check-In (n = 20) showed significantly greater increases in parental internal locus of control, autonomy support, and structure provision at a two-week follow-up. Effect sizes were moderate to large. Both groups showed improvements in parent involvement. Intervention effects on parenting stress and sense of efficacy were not significant.

Conclusions

Preliminary evidence supports the efficacy of the Parent Check-In. Future directions for the development and validation of the intervention are discussed.

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Author Contributions

E.S.A. collaborated on the design and execution of the study, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper. W.S.G. collaborated on the design and execution of the study and contributed to the writing of the paper. J.V.C. Collaborated on the design of the study and contributed to editing the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth S. Allen.

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Allen, E.S., Grolnick, W.S. & Córdova, J.V. Evaluating a Self-Determination Theory-Based Preventive Parenting Consultation: The Parent Check-In. J Child Fam Stud 28, 732–743 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-01309-0

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Keywords

  • Parenting skills training
  • Self-Determination Theory
  • Autonomy support
  • Preventive intervention
  • Motivation