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The Incredible Years® evidence-based early intervention programs are for parents, teachers, and children and are designed to improve children's social and emotional skills, reduce behavior problems, and promote positive relationships. There is a considerable body of research that demonstrates the effectiveness of Incredible Years.

Key Takeaways

Improved Social Skills

Incredible Years®  has been shown to improve children's social skills. Studies published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry found that children with early-onset behavioral problems who participated in Incredible Years had significantly better social skills than those who did not.

Reduced Behavior Problems

Incredible Years has also been found to reduce behavior problems in children. Studies published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology found that children who participated in Incredible Years had significantly fewer behavior problems than those who did not.

Positive Impact on Parenting

Incredible Years has been shown to have a positive impact on parenting practices. Studies published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that parents who participated in Incredible Years had improved parenting practices, including increased positive interactions with their children.

Long-term Effects

The effects of Incredible Years have been found to be long-lasting. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology found that the positive effects of Incredible Years were still evident three years after the program ended.


Incredible Years has been found to be a cost-effective evidence-based SEL program.
Studies show that the program is associated with reduced healthcare costs and fewer school-based interventions, resulting in cost savings for both families and society.

Parent attending evidence-based SEL program

Improved Social Skills:

  • Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, M. J., & Hammond, M. (2001b). Social skills and problem solving training for children with early-onset conduct problems: Who benefits? The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 42(7), 943-952.  DOI: 10.1111/1469-7610.00790  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11693589/
  • Scott, S., Sylva, K., Doolan, M., Price, J., Jacobs, B., Crook, C., et al. (2009). Randomised controlled trial of parent groups for child antisocial behaviour targeting multiple risk factors: the SPOKES project. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.  DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02127.x  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19732250/

Reduced Behavior Problems:

  • Webster-Stratton, C. (1990a). Enhancing the effectiveness of self-administered videotape parent training for families with conduct-problem children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 18, 479-492.
  • Posthumus. J.A., Raaijmakers, M.A.J., Maassen, G.H., van Engeland, H., and Matthys, W. 2012. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40(4), 487-500. DOI 10.1007/s10802-011-9580-9.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22006348/ 

Positive Impact on Parenting:

  • Webster-Stratton, C. (1998b). Preventing conduct problems in Head Start children: Strengthening parenting competencies. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66(5), 715-730. 
  • Linares, L. O., Montalto, D., MinMin, L., & S., V. (2006). A Promising Parent Intervention in Foster Care. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(1), 32-41.  DOI:10.1037/0022-006X.74.1.32   https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16551141/
  • McGilloway, S., Ni Mhaille, G., Bywater, T., Leckey, Y., Kelly, P., Furlong, M., Comiskey, C. and Donnelly, M. A. (2012)  Parenting Intervention for Childhood Behavioral Problems: A Randomised Controlled Trial in Disadvantaged Community-based Settings. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. DOI: 10.1037/a0026304   https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22148879/

Long-term Effects:

  • Brotman LM, Gouley KK, Huang KY, Rosenfelt A, O'Neal C, Klein RG, Shrout P. Preventive intervention for preschoolers at high risk for antisocial behavior: long-term effects on child physical aggression and parenting practices. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology. 2008 Apr;37(2):386-96. doi: 10.1080/15374410801955813. PMID: 18470775.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18470775/


  • Foster, E. M., & Jones, D. (2005). The high costs of aggression: Public expenditures resulting from conduct disorder. American Journal of Public Health, 95(10), 1767-1772.
Group of children
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For more information and studies on Incredible Years program outcomes, view more research by visiting our library.