Evaluation

Evaluation Design and Outcomes

The Incredible Years® Parent, Child and Teacher programs have been extensively evaluated in randomized control group studies with children diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder, conduct problems, or ADHD as well as with high risk families. Program evaluations have included home and school observations by unbiased evaluators, teacher and parent reports on standardized measures, and child assessments. These findings have been replicated in randomized studies by independent investigators with different ethnic populations, cultures and age groups in Canada, Holland, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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Parent Program Evidence: Evidence of Parent Program Effectiveness as a Treatment Program with Clinic Populations of Children Diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD (ages 3-8 years):

Eight randomized control group trials (RCTs) by the developer and six RCTs by independent investigators of the parenting series with diagnosed children have indicated the following significant findings:

  • Increases in positive parenting including child-directed play, coaching and praise and reduced use of criticism and negative commands.
  • Increases in parent use of effective limit-setting by replacing spanking/hitting and harsh discipline with proactive discipline techniques and increased monitoring.
  • Reductions in parental depression and increases in parental self-confidence.
  • Increases in positive family communication and problem-solving.
  • Reductions in conduct problems in children’s interactions with parents and increases in children’s positive affect and compliance to parental commands.
  • 2/3 of children in normal range at 3-year and at 10-year follow-up.
Evidence of Parent Program Effectiveness as a Prevention Program with a Selective Population of Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Families of Children (ages 2-12 years):

Four RCTs by the developer and six RCTs by independent investigators of the parenting series with high risk populations (e.g. Head Start and Sure Start) indicated significant improvements in positive parenting interactions, reductions in harsh discipline with children, reductions in aggressive behavior problems and increases in child social competence.

Teacher Program Evidence: Evidence of Teacher Classroom Management Program Effectiveness by Developer with Clinic Populations of Children Diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ages 3-8 years):

One RCT by the developer of the teacher training with diagnosed children indicated significant:

  • Increases in teacher use of praise and encouragement and reduced use of criticism and harsh discipline.
  • Increases in children’s positive affect and cooperation with teachers, positive interactions with peers, school readiness and engagement with school activities.
  • Reductions in peer aggression in the classroom.
Evidence of Teacher Classroom Management Program Effectiveness by Developer and Independent Investigators with Selected Populations of Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Children (ages 3-8 years):

Two RCTs by the developer and five RCTs by independent investigators of the teacher training series with high risk populations indicated significant improvements in positive discipline and proactive management skills and decreases in classroom aggression and increases in children’s pro social behavior.

Child Program Evidence: Evidence of Child Dinosaur Treatment Program Effectiveness by Developer and Independent Investigators with Clinic Populations of Children Diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD (ages 4-8 years):

Three RCTs by the developer and one RCT by an independent investigator of the small group dinosaur child treatment series with diagnosed children indicated significant:

  • Increases in children’s emotional language, social skills, and appropriate cognitive problem-solving strategies with peers.
  • Reductions in conduct problems at home and school.
  • Reductions in hyperactivity and inattention.
Evidence of Child Dinosaur Classroom Program by Developer with Selected Populations of Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Populations (ages 3-8 years):

Two RCTs with Head Start families and Primary grade classrooms indicated significant improvements in school readiness, emotional regulation and social skills and reductions in behavior problems in the classroom. Summaries of this research can be found in the following two review chapters.

Read the Article (A Multifaceted Treatment Approach for Young Children) Read the Article (A School-Family Partnership)
View the comparative graphs (pdf)

Graph 1
Graph 2

Evaluation Studies and Design

The Incredible Years® Parent Training Programs were first recommended by the American Psychological Association Task Force (Brestan & Eyberg, 1998) as meeting the stringent “Chambless & Hollon criteria” (1998) for empirically supported mental health intervention for children with conduct problems.

Chambless, D. L. and Hollon, S.D. (1998). Defining Empirically Supported Therapies. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66, 7-18.

Brestan, E. V. & Eyberg, S. M. (1998). Effective psychosocial treatments of conduct-disordered children and adolescents; 29 years, 82 studies, and 5,272 kids. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 27, 180-189.

In the last decade, the Incredible Years programs have been given designations such as: “Exemplary,” “Promising,” “Proven,” and “Model” in review groups such as OJJDP, SAMHSA’s NREPP, Promising Practices Network, Blueprints for Health Youth Development, and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Typically, these review groups require the following to be classified as evidence-based: (1) statistical significance in at least two randomized control group trials using reliable and valid outcome assessment measures; and (2) replications by an independent evaluator.

View the Incredible Years® Program Evaluation Methods Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Randomized Treatment Research