Prevention Science

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 609–619 | Cite as

Predictors of Group Leaders’ Perceptions of Parents’ Initial and Dynamic Engagement in a Family Preventive Intervention

  • J. Douglas CoatsworthEmail author
  • Katharine T. Hemady
  • Melissa W. George


Attendance and participant engagement are two consistent predictors of the efficacy of preventive interventions. Although both are typically measured and analyzed as static factors, evidence indicates patterns of attendance and participant engagement change over the course of intervention. Understanding parent characteristics that predict engagement may inform strategies to maximize parents’ involvement thereby increasing intervention uptake and improving effects. This study examined whether parents’ baseline characteristics predicted their engagement in a family-based intervention. The study was conducted with 515 caregivers participating in a randomized comparative trial testing the efficacy of The Mindfulness-Enhanced Strengthening Families Program 10-14 (MSFP 10-14) and The Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14 (SFP 10-14). Facilitator ratings were used to measure parent engagement. Results indicated generally high levels of initial engagement with small, but a significant linear increase across the intervention. Parental education level and involvement with their youth predicted engagement in the first session, while parents’ marital/relationship status, avoidance of conflict with their youth, involvement with their youth, and perceived parent-youth relationship quality at baseline predicted change in engagement. Results highlight engagement as a dynamic construct that changes over time and indicates potential variables that may help identify parents that may need support engaging in this intervention.


Participant engagement Participation Parent training Prevention program Intervention impact 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

This project was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse through a grant (R01DA026217) awarded to the first author. The second author’s efforts are facilitated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse through a training grant (F31DA038409).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethics Approval and Consent to Participate

Pennsylvania State University’s IRB approved this study. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee 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.


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Copyright information

© Society for Prevention Research 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Douglas Coatsworth
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katharine T. Hemady
    • 2
  • Melissa W. George
    • 1
  1. 1.Colorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Public Health Management OrganizationPhiladelphiaUSA

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