Thursday, 2 January 2014

Triple P parenting interventions

Perth and Kinross Community Planning Partnership (CPP) and the Dartington Social Research Unit (SRU) are working collaboratively on the Evidence2Success project. The aim is to collect data on the wellbeing of children in the area in order to be able to provide appropriate preventive and early interventions to enhance the wellbeing of children.

The Evidence2Success project prides itself on being able to provide evidence based programmes from around the world which affect the behaviour, mental health, education and physical health of the target population. One of the examples of a programme which meets this standard is the Triple P Parenting programme.

What is triple P?

The entry in Wikipedia indicates that Triple P is a multilevel parenting intervention aimed at the population level which aims to reduce emotional, behavioural and mental health issues in children and adolescents. All members of the population participate but `at risk` individuals are provided with tailored programmes. This program is based on the principles of community psychology.
Triple P, or the "Positive Parenting Program", was created by Matthew R. Sanders and colleagues at the University of Queensland in Australia and evolved from a small "home-based, individually administered training program for parents of disruptive preschool children" into a comprehensive preventive intervention program (p. 506).

What do Triple P have to say about themselves? 
The Triple P – Positive Parenting Program is one of the most effective evidence-based parenting programs in the world, backed up by more than 30 years of ongoing research. Triple P gives parents simple and practical strategies to help them confidently manage their children’s behaviour, prevent problems developing and build strong, healthy relationships. Triple P is currently used in 25 countries and has been shown to work across cultures, socio-economic groups and in all kinds of family structures

What do others have to say about Triple P`s effectiveness?
"One of the things that we were often told, again and again, was that Triple P was so great because it was “evidence-based”. I didn’t have access to university libraries at the time so it wasn’t easy to access articles, only abstracts, but I did a Google Scholar search and noticed that pretty much every article about Triple P featured the name of Dr Matt Sanders, who is the person from the University of Queensland who developed Triple P and is very involved in the materials, promotion and training development for the programme. I wasn’t able to get hold of the full articles due to paywalls, but this discovery did leave me with some questions about the evidence and the risk of conflicts of interest."
Here is another:
"But the weaknesses revealed in a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of the Triple P by Philip Wilson and his Scottish colleagues show how apparently strong evidence can evaporate when it is given a closer look. "strong evidence" for a treatment evaporates with a closer look"

Such is the evidence that Evidence2Success supports. Moreover, it does beg an important question: Should we be trying to treat whole populations in order to target a few individuals, particularly when it involves breaching the privacy rights of the population?  

As it was, parents in Perth and Kinross were not given the opportunity to give or withhold their informed consent. Their children were surveyed using Evidence2Success before parents had the opportunity to peruse the very intrusive questions being asked. Excuses were made afterwards, of course. If Triple P is one of the preventive and early interventions provided as a consequence of the survey, serious questions need to be asked about the validity and reliability of these surveys and programmes.

See also: New research questions flagship parenting programme

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