Exploring the potential utility and impact of a universal, multi-component early parenting intervention through a community-based, controlled trial
Hickey, G., McGilloway, S., Leckey, Y., Leavy, S., Stokes, A., O’Connor, S., Donnelly, M., Bywater, T. (2020). Exploring the potential utility and impact of a universal, multi-component early parenting intervention through a community-based, controlled trial. Children and Youth Services Review, 118 (Available online 11 September 2020).
Background: This paper describes the first phase of a community-based, controlled trial conducted to investigate the potential utility of a new, complex group-based early parenting intervention. In total, 106 parent-infant dyads were recruited to an interagency Parent and Infant (PIN) intervention which combines a range of supports, including the Incredible Years Parent and Baby Programme, baby massage, weaning workshops and paediatric first aid training. A ‘services-as-usual’ comparison group was also recruited (n = 84).
Methods: The primary outcome was parenting self-efficacy (Parenting Sense of Competence Scale). Parent wellbeing, child development and the home environment were also measured. Assessments were conducted at baseline (when infants were 6–20 weeks old) and at follow-up (when infants were aged approximately 8 months). Parent satisfaction with the intervention was examined, as well as uptake of community-based services and health service utilisation.
Results: An intention-to-treat analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) examined between-group post-intervention differences, whilst secondary analyses on a ‘per protocol’ sample of participants (who attended at least 50% of the intervention sessions) were also conducted. Satisfaction with the PIN intervention was very high. The intention-to-treat ANCOVA showed no post-intervention between-group differences on measures of parent competency or well-being. At baseline, children in the comparison group were older than those in the intervention group and, at follow-up, fared better than their intervention group counterparts on measures of child development. The per protocol analysis revealed a significant effect for the intervention group on the efficacy subscale of the primary outcome measure (effect size = 0.44, p < 0.05). Intervention group infants attended GP and nursing services on significantly fewer occasions than their comparison group counterparts.
Conclusion: The findings provide tentative early support for the utility of the PIN intervention in terms of improving parenting efficacy and reducing reliance on primary health care services. Further follow-ups when infants are 16 and 24 months old are underway.