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Health Educ Res. 2007 Apr;22(2):177-91. Epub 2006 Jul 20.

Parenting programmes for preventing tobacco, alcohol or drugs misuse in children <18: a systematic review.

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Dacorum Primary Health Care Trust, Tring Clinic, Station Road, Tring, Hertfordshire, HP23 5NF, UK.


We conducted a systematic review of controlled studies of parenting programmes to prevent tobacco, alcohol or drug abuse in children <18. We searched Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, specialized Register of Cochrane Drugs and Alcohol Group, Pub Med, psych INFO, CINALH and SIGLE. Two reviewers independently screened studies, extracted data and assessed study quality. Data were collected on actual or intended use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs by child, and associated risk or antecedent behaviours. Due to heterogeneity we did not pool studies in a meta-analysis and instead present a narrative summary of the findings. Twenty studies met our inclusion criteria. Statistically significant self-reported reductions of alcohol use were found in six of 14 studies, of drugs in five of nine studies and tobacco in nine out of 13 studies. Three interventions reported increases of tobacco, drug and alcohol use. We concluded that parenting programmes can be effective in reducing or preventing substance use. The most effective appeared to be those that shared an emphasis on active parental involvement and on developing skills in social competence, self-regulation and parenting. However, more work is needed to investigate further the change processes involved in such interventions and their long-term effectiveness.

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