“Home Practice Is the Program”: Parents’ Practice of Program Skills as Predictors of Outcomes in the New Beginnings Program Effectiveness Trial
An examination of the content and processes of evidence-based programs is critical for empirically evaluating theories about how programs work, the “action theory” of the program (West et al. in American Journal of Community Psychology, 21, 571–605, 1993). The New Beginnings Program (NBP; Wolchik et al., 2007), a parenting-after-divorce preventive intervention, theorizes that program-induced improvements in parenting across three domains: positive relationship quality, effective discipline, and protecting children from interparental conflict, will reduce the negative outcomes that are common among children from divorced families. The process theory is that home practice of program skills related to these parenting domains is the primary mechanism leading to positive change in parenting. This theory was tested using multi-rater data from 477 parents in the intervention condition of an effectiveness trial of the NBP (Sandler et al. 2016a, 2016b). Four research questions were addressed: Does home practice of skills predict change in the associated parenting outcomes targeted by the program? Is the effect above and beyond the influence of attendance at program sessions? What indicators of home practice (i.e., attempts, fidelity, efficacy, and competence) are most predictive of improvements in parenting? Do these indicators predict parenting improvements in underserved subpopulations (i.e., fathers and Latinos)? Structural Equation Modeling analyses indicated that parent-reported efficacy and provider-rated parent competence of home practice predicted improvements in the targeted parenting domains according to both parent and child reports. Moreover, indicators of home practice predicted improvements in parenting for fathers and Latinos, although patterns of effects varied by parenting outcome.
KeywordsProgram implementation Program engagement Participant responsiveness Gender Ethnicity
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Support for the study was provided by R01DA026874 (Sandler), R01DA033991 (Berkel & Mauricio), and competitive funding from the Center for Prevention Implementation Methodology (Ce-PIM), P30-DA027828 (Brown/Berkel), Diversity Supplement R01DA033991-03S1 (Berkel/Gallo), and SAMHSA’s Minority Fellowship Program SM060563-03 (Chiapa).
Conflict of Interest
Sandler and Wolchik are the developers of the NBP and have an LLC that trains providers to deliver the program. Remaining authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of Arizona State University’s IRB and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Barnes, H., & Olson, D. H. (1982). Parent-Adolescent Communication Scale. In D. H. Olson, H. I. McCubbin, H. Barnes, A. Larsen, M. Muxen, & M. Wilson (Eds.), Family inventories: Inventories used in a national survey of families across the family life cycle (pp. 33–48). St. Paul, MN: Family Social Science, University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
- Berkel, C., Knight, G. P., Zeiders, K. H., Tein, J.-Y., Roosa, M. W., Gonzales, N. A., & Saenz, D. (2010). Discrimination and adjustment for Mexican American adolescents: A prospective examination of the benefits of culturally-related values. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 20, 893–915.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Clarke, A. T., Marshall, S. A., Mautone, J. A., Soffer, S. L., Jones, H. A., Costigan, T. E., Patterson, A., Jawad, A. F., & Power, T. J. (2015). Parent attendance and homework adherence predict response to a family–school intervention for children with ADHD. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 44, 58–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fabricius, W. V., Braver, S. L., Diaz, P., & Velez, C. E. (2010). Custody and parenting time: Links to family relationships and well-being after divorce. In M. E. Lamb (Ed.), The role of the father in child development. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Gonzales, N. A., Wolchik, S. A., Sandler, I. N., Winslow, E. B., Martinez, C. R., & Cooley, M. (2006). Quality management methods to adapt interventions for cultural diversity. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Prevention Research, San Antonio, TX.Google Scholar
- Gonzales, N. A., Dumka, L. E., Millsap, R. E., Gottschall, A., McClain, D. B., Wong, J. J., Germán, M., Mauricio, A. M., Wheeler, L., Carpentier, F. D., & Kim, S. Y. (2012). Randomized trial of a broad preventive intervention for Mexican American adolescents. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 80, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Muthén, B. O., & Muthén, L. K. (2012). Mplus, Version 7.1.. Los Angeles: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
- NRC/IOM. (2009). Preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders among young people: Progress and possibilities. Washington: NRC/IOM.Google Scholar
- OSLC. (1991). LIFT parent interview. Eugene: OSLC.Google Scholar
- Panter-Brick, C., Burgess, A., Eggerman, M., McAllister, F., Pruett, K., & Leckman, J. F. (2014). Practitioner review: Engaging fathers—Recommendations for a game change in parenting interventions based on a systematic review of the global evidence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 55, 1187–1212.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Sandler, I., Wolchik, S., Winslow, E. B., Mahrer, N. E., Moran, J. A., & Weinstock, D. (2012). Quality of maternal and paternal parenting following separation and divorce. In K. Kuehnle & L. Drozd (Eds.), Parenting plan evaluations: Applied research for the family court (pp. 85–122). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S. A., Berkel, C., Jones, S., Mauricio, A. M., Tein, J.-Y., & Winslow, E. (2016a). Effectiveness trial of the New Beginnings Program (NBP) for divorcing and separating parents: Translation from and experimental prototype to an evidence-based community service. In M. Israelashvili & J. L. Romano (Eds.), Cambridge handbook of international prevention science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S. A., Tein, J.-Y., Mazza, G. L., Gunn, H., & Jones, S. (2016b). Randomized effectiveness trial of a court-community-university collaboration to implement the New Beginnings Program to divorcing and separating families.Google Scholar
- Wolchik, S., Sandler, I., Weiss, L., & Winslow, E. (2007). New Beginnings: An empirically-based program to help divorced mothers promote resilience in their children. In J. M. Briesmeister & C. E. Schaefer (Eds.), Handbook of parent training: Helping parents prevent and solve problem behaviors (3rd ed., pp. 25–62). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Wolchik, S. A., Tein, J.-Y., Sandler, I. N., & Kim, H.-J. (2016). Developmental cascade models of a parenting-focused program for divorced families on mental health problems and substance use in emerging adulthood. Development & Psychopathology.Google Scholar