Incredible Years Blog

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Incredible Years® | New and Emerging Research

New study is the first to evaluate the Incredible Years® Attentive Parenting program as a Universal Prevention Program for a Racially Diverse Population

Xiang Zhou, PhD, LP, Assistant Professor in Counseling Psychology at Purdue University has recently published his evaluation on the Attentive Parenting program, Evaluating the Feasibility of the Incredible Years Attentive Parenting Program as Universal Prevention for Racially Diverse Populations – the first assessment conducted on the Attentive Parenting program.

In this study, 152 parents (88% mothers; 81% non-White) participated in the Attentive Parenting® Program. Parents in this study were found to have attended 71% of all sessions. Parents who completed the program reported a significant decrease in conduct problems and an increase in prosocial behaviors in their children.

We are excited about this study of the Attentive Parenting® Program because it looks at the impact of a shorter (6-9 session) video-based prevention program with a culturally diverse sample. With it’s updated vignettes and added content on teaching children self-regulation and problem-solving, agencies may consider the Attentive Parenting® program as another option for parent education with a prevention population.

Read Professor Xiang Zhou’s blog on this study here!

Trial of the Incredible Years® Autism Spectrum and Language Delays Program in Spain

Dr. Fátima Valencia, a clinical psychologist in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Gregorio Marañón University General Hospital in Madrid has announced a pilot study of the Incredible Years® Autism Parenting Program in Spain – the FIRST STEPS project.

She and her team are conducting a randomized pilot trial with the primary objective of assessing the feasibility of implementing The Incredible Years® ASDLD program in Spain. The aim is to determine the acceptability and satisfaction levels of parents and, as a secondary aim, to establish the preliminary efficacy in reducing parental stress and behavioral difficulties in children. The protocol for the pilot study, Protocol for a randomized pilot study (FIRST STEPS): implementation of the Incredible Years-ASLD® program in Spanish children with autism and preterm children with communication and/or socialization difficulties, has been published.

The FIRST STEPS Incredible Years® ASDLD intervention is being carried out in three Spanish public health hospitals, recruiting a total of 72 children diagnosed with ASD or preterm infants with subsequent language delay, randomized to the IY-ASD intervention arm or the usual treatment arm. This is intended as a first step in the generalization of the program within the public health network, as well as for future controlled studies demonstrating its efficacy. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the intervention is currently being delivered both in weekly online sessions over 6 months and in some cases a hybrid approach depending on the policy for the various communities. Dr. Valencia and her team have consulted with Dr. Webster-Stratton regarding implementing the Autism program with families online with fidelity to the program protocol.

To date, the FIRST STEPS project has finished the groups in the three sites, with very positive feedback from the families. They are in the post-group assessment stage and are hoping to start sharing the results of the trial soon.

New research evaluating the IY TCM program in Ireland

For more than ten years, psychologists from the Irish National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) have been collaborating with primary schools in their community and delivering the Incredible Years® Teacher Classroom Management program. Two new studies evaluating implementation of the IY TCM program in Ireland have recently been published.

The first, Exploring the impact of Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management training on teacher psychological outcomes, included 368 Irish primary school teachers, looking at the potential impact of classroom management training on teacher psychological outcomes. Their findings suggest that there are benefits to teachers’ wellbeing and feeling of self-efficacy from IY Teacher Classroom Management Training as teachers learn positive strategies to manage challenging student behaviors.

The second study, Sustained CPD as an effective approach in the delivery of the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management programme, considered the experiences of teachers receiving IY Teacher Classroom Management program training as part of their continuing professional development. The study found the TCM program to be an effective program for use in teacher continuing professional development. The study highlights the importance of teacher group leaders tailoring the program to the needs of the participants, using the collaborative model, and providing sustained support.

New Meta-Analysis of behavioral therapies for children with ADHD

A new meta-analysis of behavioral therapy programs for children with ADHD, has recently been published: An Individual Participant Data Meta-analysis: Behavioral Treatments for Children and Adolescents With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

This meta-analysis of programs, including the Incredible Years®, finds that: Children with ADHD, who have severe symptoms of ADHD or behavioural problems, and children with ADHD from single-parent families, should be given priority when it comes to behavioural therapy. If these groups of children are not treated promptly, the problems facing them and those around them increase faster than they do for other groups of children with ADHD.

This meta-analysis was conducted by Annabeth Groenman, PhD, and a team of researchers in the Netherlands at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), VU University Amsterdam, and at KU Leuven, Belgium. Their data analysis allowed them to see which sub-groups responded best to behavioral therapy. The results of Groenman’s research have been published in the Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Here is a summary of their findings:

Behavioural therapy reduces the symptoms of ADHD and tackles the behavioural problems facing children with ADHD. It also relieves the pressure on both them and those around them. However, this treatment is not equally effective for all children with ADHD. It is important to understand who responds well to behavioural therapy and who is less suitable for this treatment, so that target groups can be identified more accurately.

Researcher Annabeth Groenman headed a large-scale study that involved a staggering 33 researchers from around the world, who all shared their data about the effectiveness of their evidence-based programs with her. All of the data were used to generate one large dataset. Groenman then reviewed the effects of behavioural therapy on 2,200 children with ADHD below the age of 18. She analysed the effect on the symptoms of ADHD, on the behavioural problems and on the functional impairment that they experienced in their daily lives.

The research shows that behavioural therapy for children with ADHD can help them to control their attention problems, hyperactivity, impulsiveness and behavioural problems. It also reduces the extent to which the children and those around them experience functional impairment due to their behaviour. In addition, the researchers identified a number of sub-groups that respond differently to the treatment. Children with a behavioural disorder as well as ADHD seem to deteriorate while awaiting treatment. This is also true of children with more severe symptoms of ADHD or a behavioural disorder, and children from single-parent families.

The conclusion of this study is that behavioural therapy works. It would also seem that certain groups of children should be treated quickly to prevent them from deteriorating. This applies to children from single-parent families, and children with severe behavioural problems or serious symptoms of ADHD. Groenman would like to see this group of children being offered treatment immediately and not being placed on a waiting list. A prompt intervention with behavioural therapy can help to prevent further deterioration. 

Incredible Years® Seattle applauds this team of researchers in the Netherlands for compiling all this data from multiple studies addressing treatment for children with ADHD and assessing the impact of intervention for those at greatest risk.

In Finland, ongoing RCT evaluation of the Incredible Years® Preschool Basic Parenting Program plus the IY Home Coaching Program for families receiving special services

Piia Karjalainen has completed several RCTs evaluating the implementation of the Incredible Years® Preschool Basic group-based parenting program plus the IY Home Coaching program with families in Finland who have been referred through Finnish CPS to receive special preventative services. In her first study, Group-based parenting program to improve parenting and children’s behavioral problems in families using special services: A randomized controlled trial in a real-life setting, published in 2019, she found that parent reported child problem behavior as well as clinical levels of behavioral problems decreased to a greater extent in the intervention group than in the control group. The intervention also increased positive parenting practices.

In a recently published follow-up sub-analysis, Parents’ perceptions of a group-based parenting programme in families with child protection and other family support services in a real-life setting, she looked at parents’ satisfaction and perceived usefulness of the Incredible Years® parenting program. Parents participating in this study received 19 Preschool Basic parent group meetings and four additional home visits using the IY Home Coaching Program. She found the Incredible Years® parenting program to be a good fit for parents involved with Child Protective Services – 74.2% of parents attended approximately half or more than half of the sessions, and parent satisfaction reports were positive – 85.7% of parents would recommend or strongly recommend the program to others. Additionally, she found the use of positive parenting practices increased in the whole intervention group (both CPS and non-CPS families).