An Evaluation of Group Stepping Stones Triple P for Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities

Gemma Roux (2009). An Evaluation of Group Stepping Stones Triple P for Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities PhD Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Gemma Roux
Thesis Title An Evaluation of Group Stepping Stones Triple P for Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009-11
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr Kate Sofronoff
Professor Matthew Sanders
Dr Jeannie Sheffield
Total pages 217
Total black and white pages 217
Subjects 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Abstract/Summary Abstract The primary focus of this research project was an evaluation of the Group Stepping Stones Triple P parenting program for parents of a child with a disability. In addition there was an investigation into the similarities and differences in child behaviour and parenting experience, and program outcomes, for families of children with different developmental disabilities. While the Triple P Positive Parenting Program has an impressive evidence base (Sanders, 1999; Sanders, Markie-Dadds, Tully & Bor, 2000) and research indicates that the standard Stepping Stones Triple P Program is efficacious for different disability groups (Roberts, Mazzucchelli, Studman & Sanders, 2006) and for parents of children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (Whittingham, Sofronoff, Sheffield & Sanders, 2009), to date the group version of Stepping Stones Triple P has not been comprehensively evaluated, nor the efficacy of the program evaluated when administered concurrently to parents of children with different developmental disabilities. Currently, there is a lack of participant-friendly, evidence-based group parenting programs that can be utilised in a cost-effective manner with all parents of children with disabilities. Many interventions have been designed specifically to cater to the requirements of a particular disability group. While there is some divergence in disability characteristics and in the experience of families of children with different disabilities, there is compelling evidence that many of the most challenging experiences faced by parents of disabled children (such as emotional and behavioural disturbance and delays in skill development) are shared by many disability populations (Raina et al., 2005; Bourke et al., 2008). Consequently there is empirical support for the implementation of a broad, skill-based parenting program for all parents of children with disabilities. The first study in this research project was a randomised controlled trial the Group Stepping Stones Triple P program for parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Down syndrome, other intellectual disabilities and Cerebral Palsy. Fifty-two families were included in this trial and were randomly allocated to treatment and wait-list control groups. The results demonstrate significant improvements in child behaviour and parenting difficulties that were maintained at follow-up six months later. For over a third of participants the change in child behaviour and parenting styles was clinically reliable (Jacobsen & Truax, 1991; Evans, Margison & Barkham, 1998). In addition, the majority of parents reported the attainment of their program goals following the intervention. The second study was a comparison of program outcomes for parents from different disability groups. The sample was divided into two groups; parents of children with ASD and parents of children with intellectual and physical disabilities. The results demonstrated significant improvements in child behaviour and parenting difficulties from pre- to post-intervention for both the ASD group and the Intellectual and Physical disability group. For a third of parents in the ASD group and over a third of parents in the Intellectual and Physical disability group, the changes were clinically reliable (Jacobsen & Truax, 1991; Evans et al., 1998). In addition, the means for both groups on the child behaviour, parenting style and parental psychological functioning variables were compared. The results indicated that there were some differences in child behaviour, parenting styles and parent distress between the two groups, and in the program goals set by parents. However, overall the results revealed no systematic differences in treatment outcomes across disability groups, demonstrating that the program was effective for families of children with ASD and families of children with Intellectual and Physical disabilities. Finally, a series of three case evaluations were conducted to examine program outcomes and differences in child behaviour and parenting experiences for the families of a child with ASD, Down syndrome and Cerebral palsy. The results of the case studies revealed significant improvements in child behaviour and parenting styles for all three families, along with high levels of program satisfaction and successful attainment of parenting goals. For all three families these changes in child behaviour and parenting style were clinically reliable (Jacobsen & Truax, 1991; Evans et al., 1998) and maintained at six-month follow up. The results also provided information about the similarities and differences in parenting experiences, child behaviour and program goals across the three disabilities. Overall, this research project has demonstrated that the Group Stepping Stones Triple P program is an effective parenting intervention for challenging behaviour and dysfunctional parenting in families of children with a range of developmental disabilities. The results of this research provide evidence to suggest that mixed disability group format used in the administration of the Group Stepping Stones Triple P program did not preclude positive program outcomes. Finally, the results of this research project indicate that there are many shared parenting experiencing across families of children with different disabilities and that regardless of observed differences in disability characteristics and family experiences, the Group Stepping Stones Triple P program is sufficiently flexible and comprehensive in its scope to meet the needs of families from different disability populations.
Keyword Stepping Stones Triple P, disability, parent training, Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Behavioural Family Intervention
Additional Notes N/A

 
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