U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Effects of Parenting Education with Expectant and New Parents: A Meta-Analysis

NCJ Number
Journal of Family Psychology Volume: 24 Issue: 3 Dated: 2010 Pages: 316-327
Date Published
12 pages

The authors describe the results of a literature review, discussing outcomes of parenting-focused interventions on parental stress, child abuse, health-promoting behavior of parents, cognitive development, parental mental health, and couple adjustment.


The present meta-analysis integrates the effects of randomized controlled trials that focus on promoting effective parenting in the transition to parenthood. The authors included 142 papers on interventions which started during pregnancy or in the first 6 months after birth. Computations were based on random-effects models. On average, interventions had small to very small significant effects on parenting (d = .35 SD units), parental stress (d = .20), child abuse (d = .13), health-promoting behavior of parents (d=.15), cognitive development (d = .24), social development (d = .30), motor development of the child (d = .15), child mental health (d = .40), parental mental health (d = .31), and couple adjustment (d = .13). Most of the effects were maintained at follow-up. Effects varied by onset of the intervention, delivery mode, qualification of the intervener, length of intervention, intervention goals, and gender distribution. In addition, the authors found that older studies reported greater effect sizes. They conclude that parenting-focused interventions are effective and should be made accessible to more expectant and new parents. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2010