Parent Incentive Program Reduces Problems Of Kids
Tags: Children contingency management drug abuse parent training
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), 13.6% of all children ages 3-5 live in a home where one or more parents have a past year diagnosis of drug abuse or dependence. Parental drug abuse increases risk of conduct problems in their children. The pre-school period and transition to elementary school is particularly important because that is when the onset of life-course-persistent problems occurs. This innovative study at the Center for Addiction Research, the University of Arkansas, consisting of homework, class sessions, and a novel incentive program resulted in reductions in children’s’ behavioral problems.
Forty-seven mothers – most of whom were in residential substance abuse treatment with their children during the period of the study – were randomly assigned to parent training plus incentives (PTI) or parent training without incentives (PT). Participating children were 55% male, ages 2-7. The intervention employed a pre-existing training program proven to enhance parenting skills and reduce childhood conduct problems. The mothers were paid $25 for completing questionnaires before and after treatment. All families participated in a twelve-week 2hrs/week training session. However, the PTI group also received financial incentives based on treatment compliance that involved opportunities to draw for gift certificates ranging from $1 to $100.
Data were analyzed using traditional intent-to-treat analysis, plus complier average causal effects (CACE) – a novel statistical technique that identifies predictors of compliance with treatment in a randomized trial. All mothers were asked to make daily calls to a voice response tracking system to rate their own parenting and their child’s conduct. Analysis showed that rates of attendance and homework completion did not differ significantly between the PTI and PT groups. However, PTI mothers made an average of 41% of possible calls versus 21% for PT mothers. Also, children of those mothers who received the added incentives showed a greater reduction in behavior problems. Overall, analysis showed significant positive effects on PTI parents’ abilities to parent, and their children’s behavior and emotional management skills.
The researchers suggest that this study provides support for the need to augment parent training with their novel incentive program to boost parenting outcomes among substance abusing parents and as a prevention strategy for children at risk from their parent’s substance abuse or dependence.
(Stanger C, Ryan SR, Fu H, Budney, AJ: Parent training plus contingency management for substance abusing families: a complier average causal effects (CACE) analysis. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. , doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.03.007.)
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