Exploring parenting self-efficacy among parents of children In residential treatment: evaluating a combined online psychoeducational intervention
Robinson, Winslow S.
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When children return home from residential treatment for behavioral challenges, continuity of care is clinically advised and empirically supported. If parents lack the skills to support this transition, a child’s treatment gains may be at risk. Parenting difficulties can initiate oppositional and avoidant behaviors in children, and if sustained, damage the parent-child relationship, leading to poor child outcomes. Offering parent training during a child’s residential treatment may increase parent self-efficacy and use of the training in support of a child’s transition home. A Northeastern US Residential Treatment Program (RTP) annually provides short-term residential treatment for children (ages 6-18), and therapeutic supports to the parents of these children during their milieu care. RTP’s new online parenting program was evaluated across three separate but related studies, exploring in Phase 1) perceived barriers to online program usability, Phase 2) how video dosage was associated with changes in parenting self-efficacy and parenting stress, and Phase 3) through the lens of family routines, what were the longer-term effects of the online program. Results from Phase 1 suggested that parents with lower technology familiarity may need ongoing support to successfully complete online training; adding digital prompts helped parents to autonomously navigate the online program. Phase 2 results indicated that parenting self-efficacy increased minimally while children were away, and decreased when children returned home; an inverse effect was found for parenting stress. Phase 3 revealed limited application of the online parent training in post-residential family routines; parent training was shared internationally within parenting social networks, though virtually no videos were watched once children had transitioned home. Similar parenting programs using the Fogg Behavior Model may consider nudging parents during natural surges in parent motivation to prolong recently initiated therapeutic benefits during post-residential home aftercare.
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