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Br J Psychiatry. 2009 Oct;195(4):318-24. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.108.056531.

Long-term effectiveness of a parenting intervention for children at risk of developing conduct disorder.

Author information

  • 1School of Psychology, Bangor University, Gwynedd, Wales, UK. t.bywater@bangor.ac.uk



The typical pattern for intervention outcome studies for conduct problems has been for effect sizes to dissipate over time with decreasing effects across subsequent follow-ups.


To establish whether the short-term positive effects of a parenting programme are sustained longer term. To observe trends, and costs, in health and social service use after intervention.


Parents with children aged 36-59 months at risk of developing conduct disorder (n = 104) received intervention between baseline and first follow-up (6 months after baseline n = 86) in 11 Sure Start areas in North Wales. Follow-ups two (n = 82) and three (n = 79) occurred 12 and 18 months after baseline. Child problem behaviour and parenting skills were assessed via parent self-report and direct observation in the home.


The significant parent-reported improvements in primary measures of child behaviour, parent behaviour, parental stress and depression gained at follow-up one were maintained to follow-up three, as were improved observed child and parent behaviours. Overall, 63% of children made a minimum significant change (0.3 standard deviations) on the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory problem scale between baseline and follow-up (using intention-to-treat data), 54% made a large change (0.8 standard deviations) and 39% made a very large change (1.5 standard deviations). Child contact with health and social services had reduced at follow-up three.


Early parent-based intervention reduced child antisocial behaviour and benefits were maintained, with reduced reliance on health and social service provision, over time.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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