An evaluation of the parents under pressure programme: a study protocol for an RCT into its clinical and cost effectiveness

Barlow, Jane, Sembi, Sukhdev, Gardner, Frances, Macdonald, Geraldine, Petrou, Stavros, Parsons, Helen, Harnett, Paul and Dawe, Sharon (2013) An evaluation of the parents under pressure programme: a study protocol for an RCT into its clinical and cost effectiveness. Trials, 14 210: 1-11. doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-210

Author Barlow, Jane
Sembi, Sukhdev
Gardner, Frances
Macdonald, Geraldine
Petrou, Stavros
Parsons, Helen
Harnett, Paul
Dawe, Sharon
Title An evaluation of the parents under pressure programme: a study protocol for an RCT into its clinical and cost effectiveness
Journal name Trials   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1745-6215
Publication date 2013-07-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/1745-6215-14-210
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 14
Issue 210
Start page 1
End page 11
Total pages 11
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background Many babies in the UK are born to drug-dependent parents, and dependence on psychoactive drugs during the postnatal period is associated with high rates of child maltreatment, with around a quarter of these children being subject to a child protection plan. Parents who are dependent on psychoactive drugs are at risk of a wide range of parenting problems, and studies have found reduced sensitivity and responsiveness to both the infant’s physical and emotional needs. The poor outcomes that are associated with such drug dependency appear to be linked to the multiple difficulties experienced by such parents.
An increase in understanding about the crucial importance of early relationships for infant well-being has led to a focus on the development and delivery of services that are aimed at supporting parenting and parent–infant interactions. The Parents under Pressure (PuP) programme is aimed at supporting parents who are dependent on psychoactive drugs or alcohol by providing them with methods of managing their emotional regulation, and of supporting their new baby’s development. An evaluation of the PuP programme in Australia with parents on methadone maintenance of children aged 3 to 8 years found significant reductions in child abuse potential, rigid parenting attitudes and child behaviour problems.

Methods/design The study comprises a multicentre randomised controlled trial using a mixed-methods approach to data collection and analysis in order to identify which families are most able to benefit from this intervention.
The study is being conducted in six family centres across the UK, and targets primary caregivers of children less than 2.5 years of age who are substance dependent. Consenting participants are randomly allocated to either the 20-week PuP programme or to standard care.
The primary outcome is child abuse potential, and secondary outcomes include substance use, parental mental health and emotional regulation, parenting stress, and infant/toddler socio-emotional adjustment scale.

Discussion This is one the first UK studies to examine the effectiveness of a programme targeting the parenting of substance-dependent parents of infants and toddlers, in terms of its effectiveness in improving the parent–infant relationship and reducing the potential for child abuse.

Trial registration International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number Register: ISRCTN47282925
Keyword Parenting
Substance misuse
Drug abuse
Alcohol abuse
Parents under pressure
Borderline personality-disorder
Dialectical behavior-therapy
Relational psychotherapy mothers
Substance-abusing mothers
Nonclinical young-adults
Anxiety stress scales
Maternal drug-use
Psychometric properties
Emotion regulation
Home intervention
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 5 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 7 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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