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Patterns of Individual Change in a Parenting Program for Child Maltreatment and Their Relation to Family and Professional Environments

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 38 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2014 Pages: 457-467
S. Byrne; M.J. Rodrigo; M.L. Máiquez
Date Published
March 2014
11 pages
The methodology and findings are presented for an evaluation of changes in parents' child-rearing behaviors and attitudes after participating in Spain's Apoyo Personal y Familiar (Personal and Family Support) program.
The evaluation showed positive pre-post changes in parenting theories, child-rearing practices, and personal interactions with their children. After program participation, parents endorsed fewer negative and simplistic views of child development and education; reported their increased use of reasoning and explanations to the child; and decreased their reports of physical punishment, verbal threats, or disregard of the child's needs while avoiding correction of the child's misconduct. In addition, the parents reported having more control over their lives. Evaluators' observations of changes in parents' behaviors found that participants did not undergo positive change in the same way and that individual and group characteristics were important in change variations. Although positive changes in parenting were observed in parents at higher risk for child maltreatment, they evidenced less self-awareness of these changes in their thoughts and behaviors, as reflected in their self-reports. The Apoyo Personal y Familiar is a well-structured program that involves a standardized set of 32 weekly sessions of 1 1/2 hours each and the use of the same teaching materials at all sites. The evaluation identified five clusters and classified 496 parents according to two criteria: the amount of pre-post changes (total or partial) as reflected in their self-reports on implicit theories, parental agency, and child-rearing practices, as well as the positive, negative, or mixed features of these changes. The study also followed up a subset of 95 participants to examine the extent to which the change patterns identified in the first part of the evaluation might predict the quality of the child-rearing environment at home. Recommendations are offered for program improvement. 4 tables and 31 references