The Incredible Years series: a developmental approach

Year: 2016
Bibliography: Webster-Stratton, C. (2016). The Incredible Years series: a developmental approach. In Family-Based Prevention Programs for Children and Adolescents: Theory, Research, and Large-Scale Dissemination (pp. 42-67). M. Van Ryzin, K. Kumpfer, G. Fosco, & M. Greenberg, Editors. New York, NY: Psychology Press.


Rates of clinically significant behavioral and emotional problems are as high as 6-15% in children aged 3-12 years {Egger & Angold, 2006; Sawyer et al., 2000). These numbers are even higher for children from economically disadvantaged families (Webster-Stratton & Hammond, 1998). Young children with early-onset behavioral and emotional difficulties are at increased risk of developing severe adjusnnent difficulties, conduct disorders, school drop-out, violence, and substance abuse in adolescence and adulthood (Costello, Foley, & Angold, 2006; Egger & Angold, 2006). However, the good news is that research has consistently indicated that early intervention with evidence-based parent, teacher, and child programs can prevent and reduce the development of conduct problems, strengthen social and emotional competence and school readiness, and, in turn, prevent later development of secondary risk factors such as school underachievement and deviant peer groups (Kazdin & Weisz, 2010; Snyder, 2001).

Multiple risk factors contribute to young children’s behavioral and emotional problems, including: ineffective parenting (e.g., harsh discipline, low parent involvement in school, neglect and low monitoring; Jaffee, Caspi, Moffitt, & Taylor, 2004); family risk factors (e.g., marital conflict, parental drug abuse, mental illness, and criminal behavior; Knutson, DeGarmo, Koeppl, & Reid, 2005); child biological and developmental risk factors (e.g., attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD), learning disabilities;and language delays); school risk factors (e.g., poor classroom management, high levels of classroom aggression, large class sizes, and poor school-home communication); and peer and community risk factors (e.g., poverty and gangs; Collins,Maccoby, Steinberg, Hetherington, & Bornstein, 2000). Effective interventions for preventing and reducing behavior problems ideally target multiple risk factors and are best offered as early as possible.

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