Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College in London studied more than 100 children aged two- to eleven-years-old and their parents, who were seeking help with managing their children’s behaviour problems.
Parents took part in the Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities peer-led intervention, where other parents in the local community deliver sessions, rather than professionals, that focus on improving parenting skills, relationships and interactions with children.
The course took place over a period of eight weeks and involved information sharing, group discussion, demonstration, role-play and home practice.
Researchers determined the effectiveness of the classes by asking parents to fill out questionnaires to measure child problems, parental stress, parenting competencies and user satisfaction
They found that the families who took part in the peer-led intervention reported clinically and statistically significant improvements in positive parenting practices and children’s behaviour problems. There was also a reduction in parental stress.
Almost all of the parents (92 per cent) who started the peer-led intervention completed it, and all parents reported good or excellent levels of user satisfaction.
The authors of the report conclude that peer-led intervention is a successful way to deliver parenting support for some of the most vulnerable families.
However, they suggest that more work is needed to determine the long-term effects of peer-led parenting support for individuals and communities, along with further research to evaluate the cost effectiveness of the programme.