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Table 2 Outcomes of the interventions by evaluation design

From: Systematic review of parenting interventions in European countries aiming to reduce social inequalities in children’s health and development

Design Intervention details/Activities Target Evaluation sample description Type Impact Outcomes
RCT “The Positive Parenting Programme” [Triple P] developing parenting skills through: media, tip sheets, parent groups, self- directed and one to one activities, 5 intensity levels tailored to need In Scotland, UK, evaluated among children 0-3 Various studies, sample sizes from 16 to 806 Proportionate universal Parenting Health and development Favourable outcomes in child behaviour. Abuse and injuries were reduced [19]
“Preparing for Life” [PFL] improving school readiness from pregnancy until beginning of school by providing public health information, a support worker, materials and workshops. High treatment groups receive home visits from PFL trained mentors Pregnant mothers and children living in disadvantaged communities in Ireland recruited between 2008-2010 High treatment: 115, low: 118. 0-7 Targeted Different treatment levels Health Limited improvement for maternal health behaviours. Favourable for parenting behaviours, higher immunisation rates, appropriate infant feeding patterns, better overall health. Children in the high treatment group showed higher level of fine motor skills and cognitive functioning [22]
“Childhood Development Initiative-Early years” care and education programme delivered by specialised staff starting when children are aged 2–3 Parents participate in the Parents Plus Community Course and there is provision of quality childcare, home visits and activities for parents based on their specific needs are offered All families living in an area of social disadvantage in Dublin, Republic of Ireland When children were aged 2½-3, delivered in 2 waves, lasting 2 years Targeted Development Fewer IG (Intervention Group) children had behavioural problems or high hyper-activity levels but not statically significant. They also scored significantly higher than the control group at mid and end phase on The Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scales. The Parents Plus Community Course was shown to improve the children’s home learning environment 2 years after the course was attended [22]
“The Growing Child Parenting Programme” parent-directed child-centred monthly learning programme delivered through age-specific information and practical learning activities supported by tailored resources. Home delivered by trained visitors Parents of children of children aged from birth to 5 years across Ireland, 2008-2009 IG: 216, CG: 208, Proportionate universal Development The evaluation reported some positive effect on the domains of development but no statistically significant improvements at the present stage, however it showed greater parental efficacy [22]
“Community Mothers Program” home visits by community mothers guided by a ‘family development nurse’ once a month. It focuses on health, nutrition and overall child development by emphasising on empowerment, parent capacity building and behavioural approaches illustrating alternatives in coping with child-rearing problems First-time parents in deprived areas, Ireland and the UK [1983–present] IG: 141, CG: 121. Age: 0-1 Targeted Parenting Health Significant more visits to the library, no significant difference in immunisation, dental checks, diet, breastfeeding or attendance to accident and emergency rooms. Intervention mothers were significantly more likely to check homework every night and more likely to disagree with the statement ‘children should be smacked for persistently bad behaviour’ [19]
“The Social Support and Family Health Study”: postnatal support provided by seven home visits and additional telephone contacts Women living in deprived districts who gave birth: 1/1/99-30/9/99, London, UK Community group intervention: 184, health visitor int.:183, CG:364 Targeted Parenting and health There was no evidence of impact on child injury, maternal smoking or maternal depression of either intervention. There were different patterns of health service use and less anxious experiences of motherhood among IG women [36]
Specialist home health visits received counselling on managing eating problems and parent–child interactions Children with failure to thrive, most families depended on social welfare April 1994 -February 1996, UK IG: 42, CG: 41. Age: 4–30 months Targeted Development Health care Specialist health visitor intervention conferred no additional benefits but improved coordination in health care services use [37]
Quasi-experiments with control group “Let’s Play in Tandem”, a compensatory education programme delivered by parents through play to foster one-on-one verbal interactions, a joint focus of attention, and scaffolding of the children’s learning providing children with prompts, demonstrations and encouragements Socio-economically disadvantaged pre-schoolers from a “Sure Start” sample in Wales, UK IG:30, CG:30, Mean age: 36.7 month Targeted Development The intervention group outperformed matched controls in tests of academic knowledge, receptive vocabulary, inhibitory control and school readiness [19]
“Incredible Years” weekly meetings during 12 weeks, 18–22 sessions training children on social skills, teacher training Families with children at risk of conduct disorder, UK [2001-present] Wales 153 families, Oxford: IG:44, CG:32 Targeted Development Intervention children exhibited fewer negative and submissive conducts and higher rates of positive-affect behaviours [19]
“Sure Start” outreach, child care and home visits, support, healthcare advice, adding value to existing services Low SES children, intensity varied in sites. UK, [2001–present] IG: 5883, CG: 1879 Targeted Parenting Development Favourable outcomes in independence, social behaviour, reduced risk of negative parenting and a better home-learning environment. No improvements in language, immunisations or accidents [19]
“Eager and Able to Learn” developmental movement experiences delivered in a group setting; a home learning package; workshops for parents and children; comprehensive training for the practitioners by Early Years specialists; 5 on-site support visits Piloted in 14 settings, 2008–2009, Northern Ireland, UK 454 children 2–3 years old Targeted Development Significant improvements in social and emotional development. Negative effect on emergent literacy skills. Positive parenting outcomes [22]
Targeted work with parents by provision and fitting of safety equipment in addition to a population-wide education and information campaign provided across the whole locality Families with children within disadvantaged Sure Start areas, UK Children under five in the intervention ward. Assessment at two years Targeted Health Over two years the proportion of children attending an A&E department reduced at a faster rate in the intervention wards [38]
“First Parent Health Visitor Scheme” approximately 10 home visits by trained visitors beginning at third trimester until 8 months old First time parents in deprived areas in the UK [1989–1998] IG: 205, CG: 254 Targeted Health Significantly fewer accidents in the past 12 months [22]
Intervention to prevent burn and scald injuries at home by individual-based information with an empowerment approach Low SES mothers selected by health care services in Sweden 99 mothers of children under 7 months Targeted Health The intervention had a significant impact on improving precautions, in relation to the comparison group [39]
Mixed-methods Support and advice on breastfeeding by trained nurses on breastfeeding techniques Mothers 5–12 days after delivery in Redbridge trust, UK All mothers in the trust area Targeted Parenting Health Mother’s perceptions were that they would not have continued without support and prevalence went from 60.5% to 67.45% [40]
“Family Nurse Partnership” Using a psycho-educational approach it provides on-going, intensive support to young, first-time mothers and their babies trained nurses provide home visits from early pregnancy until child is 2 Low Socio Economic Status [SES] mothers, UK Formative evaluation Targeted Health and development Piloted at ten sites, evaluations was still underway when the report was published [19]
Freephone parenting help line for parents: carers called back and offered additional services if the call taker felt that the parent may benefit Parents who contacted a national parenting help line, 1999, UK 97 parents received support, 99 awaiting Targeted Parenting Parents felt that their abilities had improved across the domains, particularly with regard to their ability to understand their children’s needs and their confidence in their parenting abilities. They scored more favourably on the General Health Questionnaire [41]
“The Speech and Language Therapy” provided training and support developing an interagency organisational structure for inter professional collaboration between Early Years practitioners and speech and language therapists Early Years [EY] staff and parents Dublin, Republic of Ireland 3 primary schools and 10 EY services: 77 parents, staff and others Targeted Development 12% of the boys and 28% of the girls were discharged with their speech and language within normal limits. Around half of the children required on-going therapy. Parents reported that their children were more ready for school as a result of the intervention and that their child was less likely to be bullied [22]
  “Ready Steady Grow” a programme to improve health and wellbeing to promote and support the parent–infant relationships. The centre based Parent–Child Psychological Support Programme component is delivered through 6 visits by the parent and baby over a 15-month period by specialist staff Parents and children in designated deprived area, Dublin, Republic of Ireland 23 interviews and 58 surveys with stakeholders Targeted Parenting Development Increased global and language development. No significant decrease in parenting stress and no effect on motor and personal-social development [22]
Qualitative methods assesments Day care with highly qualified staff Socially disadvantaged families at a EY centre, UK IG: 11, CG: 10 mothers Targeted Parenting Women who received a day care place at the centre were more likely to be in paid employment [42]
The Developing Everyone’s Learning and Thinking Abilities [DELTA] parenting programme Services for children in need and their families, Northern Ireland, UK 46 individual interviewees 32 parents participated in focus groups. 154 postal questionnaires Targeted Parenting Development 75% felt more confident as parents, 65% that it enhanced their child’s learning. 58% felt that it increased their knowledge on health issues [43]
Limerick Lullaby project: music and singing providing an additional tool for communication Women in a deprived area with an uncomplicated pregnancy, Republic of Ireland 6 women age 29-35 Targeted Parenting Mothers described it improved connection, communication, stress reduction, confidence building and foetal attachment [44]
Baby “FAST” strengthening family relationships through a structured curriculum comprising arts and craft-based activities, small group discussion, a community meal and infant foot massage Teenage mothers in a deprived area, London, UK Seven teenage mothers and fathers Targeted Parent and Qualitative research showed positive results in consolidating intergenerational bonds and trust [45]