Prevention Science

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 745–756 | Cite as

Examining the Process of Change in an Evidence-Based Parent Training Intervention: A Qualitative Study Grounded in the Experiences of Participants

  • Kendal HoltropEmail author
  • J. Rubén Parra-Cardona
  • Marion S. Forgatch


While strong research evidence demonstrates that parent training interventions are capable of preventing child behavioral problems, much less is known about how the participants in these programs experience the change process. The purpose of this study was to provide a better understanding of how parents’ experiences in an evidence-based parent training intervention led to change in their parenting practices, based on the first-person accounts of program participants. Qualitative data were collected through in-depth, individual interviews with parents who had completed the intervention known as Parent Management Training—the Oregon Model (PMTO™). Data were analyzed according to principles of the grounded theory approach, using the constant comparative method and a sequential process of open, axial, and selective coding. Study findings suggest that parents make active and intentional efforts to attempt, appraise, and apply the intervention material within their various life contexts, contributing to change in their parenting practices. Aspects of intervention content, method of delivery, and the role of the interventionist were also found to be important. This study can guide further prevention research into the mechanisms of change operating in parent training interventions and has the potential to inform continued efforts to adapt and implement evidence-based parent training interventions.


Parent training intervention Process of change Qualitative research 



The authors would like to thank the state department of community health, the participating community mental health agencies, and the parents who made this study possible.


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kendal Holtrop
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. Rubén Parra-Cardona
    • 2
  • Marion S. Forgatch
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Family and Child SciencesThe Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.Oregon Social Learning CenterEugeneUSA
  4. 4.Implementation Sciences International, IncEugeneUSA

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