The Incredible Years® Blog

Outcomes from IY Parent & Child programs RCT in Spain

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The University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU in Gipuzkoa, Spain, has evaluated the implementation of the Incredible Years Basic Parent and Small Group Dina Child program intervention with families involved in child welfare services in their community.

They have shared the results of their randomized control trial with us.

The research team at the University of the Basque Country, Spain

The Incredible Years Parenting and Child Treatment Programs: A Randomized Controlled Trial in a Child Welfare Setting in Spain

  • by Ignacia Arruabarrena et al.

This study presents the results of the first pilot implementation and evaluation of the Incredible Years program in Spain. Our aim was to test the effectiveness of IY in a sample of maltreating and at-risk families in the context of Child Welfare and Child Protection Services. We hypothesized that IY will be effective in reducing child behavior problems, parenting stress and risk of physical child abuse, and improving parenting skills and parent psychological wellbeing. We also went on to explore whether post-intervention changes were maintained after the intervention ended, the influence of sociodemographic characteristics of the families and program´s attendance on intervention effects, and mediating mechanisms for parenting practices and parenting stress as predictors of child abuse potential.

One hundred and eleven families with 4- to 8-year-old children living at home were recruited from Child Welfare (CW) and Child Protection Services (CPS) of the region of Gipuzkoa (Spain). CW/CPS caseworkers recruited families with the following inclusion criteria: (1) there was a substantiated report or significant risk for child maltreatment, (2) children displayed significant behavior problems, and (3) parents had significant difficulties managing their children´s behavior. 

Families were randomly allocated to IY or to a Control group who received standard services. Baseline, post-intervention, and 12-month follow-up assessments were compared. Results showed that compared to the Control group, the IY intervention made a significant positive difference in parents´ reported use of praise/incentives, and a significant reduction in reported use of inconsistent discipline, parenting stress, depressive symptomatology, and perception of child behavior problems. A full serial mediation effect was found between participation in IY, positive changes in parenting practices, subsequent reduction of parenting stress, and final reduction of child abuse potential. No moderating influence on IY effects was found (for child gender and age, parent gender, educational level and country of origin, and economic difficulties in the family). Findings provide evidence that transporting IY with fidelity is feasible in Child Welfare and Child Protection Services in Spain.

Arruabarrena, I., Rivas, G. R., Cañas, M., and Paúl, J. D. (2022). The Incredible Years Parenting and Child Treatment Programs: A Randomized Controlled Trial in a Child Welfare Setting in Spain. Psychosocial Intervention, 31(1), 43 – 58. https://doi.org/10.5093/pi2022a2

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