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Harnessing the Power of Individual Participant Data in a Meta-Analysis of the Benefits and Harms of the Incredible Years Parenting Program

Leijten, Patty, Gardner, Frances, Landau, Sabine, Harris, Victoria, Mann, Joanna, Hutchings, Judy, Beecham, Jennifer, Bonin, Eva-Maria, Scott, Stephen (2018) Harnessing the Power of Individual Participant Data in a Meta-Analysis of the Benefits and Harms of the Incredible Years Parenting Program. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 59 (2). pp. 99-109. ISSN 0021-9630. E-ISSN 1469-7610. (doi:10.1111/jcpp.12781) (KAR id:61967)


Background: Parenting programs aim to reduce children’s conduct problems through improvement of family dynamics. To date, research on the precise benefits and possible harms of parenting programs on family well-being has been unsystematic and likely to be subject to selective outcome reporting and publication bias. Better understanding of program benefits and harms requires full disclosure by researchers of all included measures, and large enough numbers of participants to be able to detect small effects and estimate them precisely. Methods: We obtained individual participant data for 14 out of 15 randomized controlled trials on the Incredible Years parenting program in Europe (total N = 1799). We used multilevel modeling to estimate program effects on thirteen parent-reported outcomes, including parenting practices, children’s mental health, and parental mental health. Results: Parental use of praise, corporal punishment, threats and shouting improved, whilst parental use of tangible rewards, monitoring, or laxness did not. Children’s conduct problems and ADHD symptoms improved, whilst emotional problems did not. Parental mental health (depressive symptoms, self-efficacy, stress) did not improve. There was no evidence of harmful effects. Conclusions: The Incredible Years parenting program improves the aspects of family well-being that it is primarily designed to improve: parenting and children’s conduct problems. It also improves parent-reported ADHD symptoms in children. Wider benefits are limited: the program does not improve children’s emotional problems or parental mental health. There are no signs of harm on any of the target outcomes.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/jcpp.12781
Uncontrolled keywords: parenting program; Incredible Years; conduct problems; individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Personal Social Services Research Unit
Depositing User: Jennifer Beecham
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2017 15:36 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 20:49 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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