Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 227–251 | Cite as

Parent Training via CD-ROM: Using Technology to Disseminate Effective Prevention Practices

  • Donald A. Gordon


Family-based prevention programs have demonstrated effectiveness in reducing risk factors for substance abuse. The lack of efficient methods for training staff and insuring treatment integrity and the limited time that program progenitors have for dissemination impede the spread of these programs. Additionally, there are barriers to families who use these programs such as stigma associated with a parent education or mental health approach, transportation and access difficulties, and inability to commit to months of treatment sessions. New developments in technology can surmount most of these barriers. The author describes a video-based interactive CD-ROM for training parents and families in child management and relationship enhancement skills. The program's development was based on two premises which are well-supported in the literature. One premise is that interactive videodisk programs increase knowledge and performance more efficiently than do standard methods of instruction. The other is that videotaped modeling of parenting skills is as effective in producing improvements in child behavior as are parent education discussion groups and parent training with a therapist. The CD-ROM program is self-administered, highly interactive, and brief, requiring no trained staff for its delivery. Users receives feedback about their choices from the computer, not a person, thus minimizing defensiveness. Controlled evaluations show improvements in knowledge and parenting skills, and reductions in child behavior problems. Many teens moved from the clinical range of behavior problems to the normal range after their mothers used the program. Replication efforts by service providers and universities are underway due to the program's ease of implementation and evaluation. Gaps in knowledge about this approach include general long-term effects, and, more specifically, how the program will affect ethnically diverse populations, how repetition and use by other family members affects outcomes, and how to overcome mental health professionals' resistance to the technology. Prevention practice can be improved with this approach since it can be disseminated relatively quickly and inexpensively, with very high treatment integrity. The convenience and lack of stigma can increase participation by parents prior to their becoming distressed by their children's behavior problems. Existing programs can incorporate and evaluate CD-ROM parent training, while new efforts will be encouraged by such an inexpensive program. Program changes, based upon research feedback, can be incorporated rapidly without the difficulty of retraining program staff.

parent training family interventions CD-ROM technology parental resistance dissemination treatment barriers multimedia 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alexander, D. E., & Gwyther, R. E. (1995). Alcoholism in adolescents and their families: Familyfocused assessment and management Pediatric Clinics of North America, 42(1), 217–234.Google Scholar
  2. Alexander, J. F., & Parsons, B. V. (1982). Functional family therapy: Principles and procedures. Carmel, CA: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  3. Alexander, J. F., Pugh, C., & Parsons, B. V. with Barton, C. Gordon, D., Grotpeter, J. K., Hanson, K., Harrison, R., Mears, S., Mihalic, S. F., Schulman, S., Waldron, H.,& Sexton T. (1998). Functional family therapy. In D. S. Elliott (Series Ed.), Blueprints for vilolence prevention (Book 3). Boulder, CO: Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado.Google Scholar
  4. Arbuthnot, J., & Gordon, D. A. (1996). Does mandatory divorce education for parents work? A six month outcome evaluation. Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 34, 60–81.Google Scholar
  5. Bickman, L.,& Noser, K. (1999). Meeting the challenges in the delivery of child and adolescent mental health services in the next millennium: The continuous quality improvement approach. Applied & Preventive Psychology, 8, 247–256.Google Scholar
  6. Bosco, J. (1986). An analysis of evaluations of interactive video. Educational Technology, 26, 7–17.Google Scholar
  7. Botvin, G. J. (1996). Substance abuse prevention through life skills training. In R. D. Peters & R. J. McMahon (Eds.). Students and substances: Social power in drug education. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 19(1), 65–82.Google Scholar
  8. Brown, B. B., Mounts, N., Lamborn, S. D., & Steinberg, L. (1993). Preventing childhood disorders, substance abuse, and delinquency (pp. 215–240). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  9. Brook, J. S., Whiteman, M., Gordon, A. S., Nomura, C., & Brook, D. W. (1986). Onset of adolescent drinking:Alongitudinal study of intrapersonal and interpersonal antecedents. Advances in Alcohol and Substance Abuse, 5(3), 91–110. Parent Training via CD-ROM 249Google Scholar
  10. Bry, B., McKeon, P. E., & Pandina, R. J. (1982). Extent of drug use as a function of number of risk factors. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 91(4), 273–279.Google Scholar
  11. Byers, D., & Rhodes, D. M. (1989). Developing sales experience through interactive video. Sales and Market Training, 5, 10–12.Google Scholar
  12. Catalano, R. F., Haggerty, K. P., Gainey, R. R., & Hoppe, M. J. (1997). Reducing parental risk factors for children's substance misuse: Preliminary outcomes with opiate-addicted parents. Substance Use & Misuse, 32(6), 699–721.Google Scholar
  13. Chamberlain, P., & Reid, J. B. (1987). Parent observation and report of child symptoms. Behavioral Assessment, 9, 97–109.Google Scholar
  14. Chambless, D. L. (1999). Empirically validated treatments-what now? Applied & Preventive Psychology, 8, 281–284.Google Scholar
  15. Cohen, V. B. (1984). Interactive features in the design of videodisc materials. Educational Technology, 24, 16–20.Google Scholar
  16. Dishion, T. J., Reid, J. B., & Patterson, G. R. (1988). Empirical guidelines for a family intervention for adolescent drug use. Journal of Chemical Dependency Treatment, 1(2), 189–224.Google Scholar
  17. Epstein, N. S., Baldwin, L. M., & Bishop, D. S. (1983). The McMaster Family Assessment Device. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 9, 171–180.Google Scholar
  18. Eyberg, S. M., & Robinson, E. A. (1983). Conduct problem behaviors: Standardization of a behavioral rating scale with adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 12(3), 347–354.Google Scholar
  19. Eyberg, S. M., & Ross, A.W. (1978). Assessment of child behavior problems: The validation of a new inventory. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 16, 113–116.Google Scholar
  20. Felner, R. D., Brand, S., Munhall, K., Counter, C., Millman, J. B., & Fried, J. (1994). The parenting partnership: The evaluation of a human service/corporate workplace collaboration for the prevention of substance abuse and mental health problems and the promotion of family and work adjustment. Journal of Primary Prevention, 15(2), 123–146.Google Scholar
  21. Flanagan, S., Adams, H. E., & Forehand, R. (1979). A comparison of four instructional techniques for teaching parents to use time-out. Behavior Therapy, 10, 94–102.Google Scholar
  22. Fletcher, J. D. (1990). Effectiveness and cost of interactive videodisc instruction in defense training and education (Report No. P-2372). Institute for Defense Analysis.Google Scholar
  23. Forehand, R. L., & Long, N. (1988). Outpatient treatment of the acting-out child: Procedures, longterm follow-up data, and clinical problems. Advances in Behavior Research and Therapy, 10, 129–177.Google Scholar
  24. Friedman, A. S. (1989). Family therapy vs. parent groups: Effects on adolescent drug users. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 176(4), 335–347.Google Scholar
  25. Geasler, M. J., & Blaisure, K. R. (1998). A review of divorce education program materials. Family Relations, 47, 167–175.Google Scholar
  26. Gentry, D. B. (1992). Using computer aided interactive video technology to provide experiential learning for mediation trainees. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 17(3/4), 57–74.Google Scholar
  27. Ginsberg, B. G. (1989). Training parents as therapeutic agents with foster/adoptive children using the filial approach. In C. E. Schaefer & J. M. Briesmeister (Eds.), Handbook of parent training: Parents as co-therapists for children's behavior problems (pp. 442–478). New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  28. Glynn, T. J., & Haenlein, M. (1988). Family theory and research on adolescent drug use: A review. Journal of Chemical Dependency and Treatment, 1(2), 39–56.Google Scholar
  29. Goldman, B. (1988). Drama on computer screen proves a good teacher. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 139, 240.Google Scholar
  30. Gordon, D. A., Jurkovic, G.,& Arbuthnot, J. (1998). Treatment of the juvenile offender. In R. Wettstein (Ed.) Treatment of offenders with mental disorders (pp. 365–428). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  31. Gordon, D. A., & Kacir, C. D. (1998). Effectiveness of an interactive parent training program for changing adolescent behavior for court-referred parents. Unpublished manuscript, Ohio University, Athens.Google Scholar
  32. Grover, P. L. (Ed.). (1998). Preventing substance abuse among children and adolescents-family centered approaches: Areference guide. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, DHHS.Google Scholar
  33. Hawkins, J. D. & Catalano, R. F. (1992). Communities That Care. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers. 250 GordonGoogle Scholar
  34. Hundleby, J. D., & Mercer, G.W. (1987). Family and friends as social environments and their relationship to young adolescents' use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 49, 151–164.Google Scholar
  35. Johnson, V., & Pandina, R. J. (1991). Effects of the family environment on adolescent substance use, delinquency, and coping styles. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 17(1), 71–88.Google Scholar
  36. Kacir, C. D., & Gordon, D. A. (1999). Parenting Adolescents Wisely: the effects of an interactive video-based parent training program in Appalachia. Child and Family Behavior Therapy, 21(4), 1–22.Google Scholar
  37. Kacir, C., Gordon, D. A., & Kirby, J. (1999). Using technology to change families: Parenting skill training via CD-ROM. Unpublished manuscript, Ohio University, Athens.Google Scholar
  38. Kramer, K., Arbuthnot, J., & Gordon, D. A. (1998). Effects of skill-based versus information-based divorce education programs on domestic violence and parental communication. Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 36, 9–31.Google Scholar
  39. Kumpfer, K. L., & DeMarsh, J. (1986). Family environmental and genetic influences on children's future chemical dependency. Journal of Children in a Contemporary Society, 18(1–2), 49-91.Google Scholar
  40. Kumpfer, K. L., Molgaard, B., & Spoth, R. (1996). The Strengthening Families Program for the prevention of delinquency and drug use. In R. D. Peters and R. J. McMahon (Eds.). Preventing childhood disorders, substance abuse, and delinquency (pp. 241–267). Twin Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  41. Lagges, A. (1999). Identifying and overcoming resistance to an interactive CD-ROM parent training program. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Ohio University, Athens.Google Scholar
  42. Lagges, A., & Gordon, D. A. (1999). Use of an interactive laserdisc parent training program with teenage parents. Child and Family Behavior Therapy, 21(1), 19–37.Google Scholar
  43. Lambert, S. & Sallis, J. (Eds.). (1987). CD-I and interactive videodisc technology. Indianapolis, IN: Howard W. Sams.Google Scholar
  44. Lochman, J. E., & Wells, K. C. (1996). A social-cognitive intervention with aggressive children: Preventive effects and contextual implementation issues. In R. Dev. Peters & R. J. McMahon (Eds.), Prevention and early intervention: Childhood disorders, substance use, and deliquency (pp. 111–143). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  45. Malkus, B. M. (1994). Family dynamic and structural correlates of adolescent substance abuse: A comparison of families of non-substance abusers and substance abusers. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 3(4), 39–52.Google Scholar
  46. McKay, J. R., Murphy, R. T., Rivinus, T. R., & Maisto, S. A. (1991). Family dysfunction and alcohol and drug use in adolescent psychiatric inpatients. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 30(6), 967–972.Google Scholar
  47. McConnaughey, J. W., & Lader, W. (1998). Falling through the net: New data on the digital divide. National Telecommunications and Information Administration. U.S. Department of Commerce.Google Scholar
  48. McNeil, B. J., & Nelson, K. R. (1991). Meta-analysis of interactive video instruction: A 10 year review of achievement effects. Journal of Computer-Based Instruction, 18(1), 1–6.Google Scholar
  49. Miller, I.W., Epstein, N. B., Bishop, D. S., & Keitner, G. I. (1985). The McMaster Family Assessment Device: Reliability and validity. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 11(4), 345–356.Google Scholar
  50. Mulvey, E. P., Arthur, M. W., & Reppucci, N. D. (1993). The prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency: A review of the research. Clinical Psychology Review, 13, 133–167.Google Scholar
  51. Nay, R.W. (1976). A systematic comparison of instructional techniques for parents. Behavior Therapy, 6, 14–21.Google Scholar
  52. Niemiec, R.,& Walberg, H. J. (1987). Comparative effects of computer-assisted instruction: Asynthesis of reviews. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 3(1), 19–37.Google Scholar
  53. O'Dell, S. L., Krug, W. W., Patterson, J. N., & Faustman, W. O. (1980). An assessment of methods for training parents in the use of time out. Journal of Behavior Treatment and Experimental Psychiatry, 11, 21–25.Google Scholar
  54. O'Dell, S. L., O'Quinn, G. A., Alford, B. A., O'Briant, A. L., Bradlyn, A. S., & Giebenhain, J. E. (1982). Predicting the acquisition of parenting skills via four training methods. Behavior Therapy, 13, 194–208.Google Scholar
  55. Patterson, G. R. (1986). Performance models for antisocial boys. American Psychologist, 41, 432–444.Google Scholar
  56. Patterson, G. R., & Chamberlain, P. (1994). A functional analysis of resistance during parent training therapy. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 1, 53–70. Parent Training via CD-ROM 251Google Scholar
  57. Patterson, G. R., & Forgatch, M. S. (1985). Therapist behavior as a determinant for client noncompliance: A paradox for the behavior modifier. Journal of Consulting and Clincial Psychology, 53, 846–851.Google Scholar
  58. Ponferrada, E., Lobo, T.L.,& Gordon, D. A. (2000). Group vs. individual use of an interactive CD-ROM parent training program. Unpublished manuscript, Ohio University, Athens.Google Scholar
  59. Santisteban, D. A., Coatsworth, J. D., Perez-Vidal, A., Mitrani, V., Jean-Gilles, M., & Szapocznik, J. (1997). Brief structural/strategic family therapy with African American and Hispanic high-risk youth. Journal of Community Psychology, 25(5), 453–471.Google Scholar
  60. Schaefer, C. E., & Briesmeister, J. M. (Eds.). (1989). Handbook of parent training: Parents as cotherapists for children's behavior problems. New York: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  61. Segal, D., Gordon, D. A., Chen, P., Kacir, C., & Gylys, J. (1999). Parenting Adolescents Wisely: Comparing interactive computer-laserdisc and linear-video methods of intervention in a parenttraining program. Unpublished manuscript, Ohio University, Athens.Google Scholar
  62. Semlitz, M. D., & Gold, M. S. (1986). Adolescent drug abuse: Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 9(3), 455–473.Google Scholar
  63. Spoth, R., & Redmond, C. (1993). Study of participation barriers in family-focused prevention: Research issues and preliminary results. International Quarterly of Community Health Education, 13(4), 365–388.Google Scholar
  64. Spoth, R., & Redmond, C. (1995). Parent motivation to enroll in parenting skills programs: A model of family context and health belief predictors. Journal of Family Psychology, 9, 294–310.Google Scholar
  65. Spoth, R., Redmond, C., Haggerty, K., & Ward, T. (1995). A controlled parenting skills outcome study examining individual difference and attendance effects. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 449–464.Google Scholar
  66. St. Pierre, T. L., & Kaltreider, D. L. (1997). Strategies for involving parents of high-risk youth in drug prevention: A three-year longitudinal study in Boys & Girls Clubs. Journal of Community Psychology, 25(5), 473–485.Google Scholar
  67. St. Pierre, T. L., Kaltreider, D. L., Mark, M. M.,& Aikin, K. J. (1992). Drug prevention in a community setting: A longitudinal study of the relative effectiveness of a three-year primary prevention program in Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation. American Journal of Community Psychology, 20, 673–706.Google Scholar
  68. Stewart, M. A., & Brown, S. A. (1993). Family functioning following adolescent substance abuse treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse, 5, 327–339.Google Scholar
  69. Swadi, H. (1991). Relative risk factors in detecting adolescent drug abuse. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 29, 253–254.Google Scholar
  70. Swaim, R. C. (1991). Childhood risk factors and adolescent drug and alcohol abuse. Educational Psychology Review, 3(4), 363–397.Google Scholar
  71. Webster-Stratton, C. (1984). Randomized trial of two parent-training programs for families with conduct-disordered children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 52, 103–115.Google Scholar
  72. Webster-Stratton, C. (1990). Enhancing the effectiveness of self-administered videotape parent training for families with conduct-problem children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 18(5), 479–492.Google Scholar
  73. Webster-Stratton, C. (1992). Individually administered videotape parent training: “Who benefits?” Cognitive Therapy and Research, 16(1), 31–52.Google Scholar
  74. Webster-Stratton, C., Hollinsworth, T., & Kolpacoff, M. (1989). The long-term effectiveness and clinical significance of three cost-effective training programs for families with conduct-problem children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 57, 550–553.Google Scholar
  75. Webster-Stratton, C., Kolpacoff, M., & Hollinsworth, T. (1988). Self-administered videotape therapy for families with conduct-problem children: Comparison with two cost-effective treatments and a control group. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56, 558–566.Google Scholar
  76. Woodruff, C., & Gordon, D. A. (1999). Home delivery of parent skills training: A comparison of interactive CD-ROM and booklets for high risk families. Unpublished manuscript, Ohio University, Athens.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald A. Gordon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOhio UniversityAthens

Personalised recommendations