The Incredible Years® Blog


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Incredible Years Implementation in Hong Kong

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Maureen Kong received her doctorate from the University of Hong Kong in August 2014.

Her dissertation was an evaluation of the Incredible Years BASIC Parenting Program in a community clinic setting in Hong Kong. Parents of 52 preschool children with developmental delays were randomly assigned to either the IY program or waitlist control.

Assessments included self and spouse reports and video coding of parent-child interactions.  

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Results indicated significantly more frequent positive parent-child interactions during observed structured play, reports of less parental stress, improvements in parenting practices according to spouses/kin, and fewer child oppositional behaviors by parents and spouses/kin. Parent attendance rate and program and satisfaction was high.  

This paper is currently under review. Once it has been published it will be included in our research library.


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European Incredible Years® (EIY) Network for Implementation and Research in Incredible Years (Written by Carolyn Webster-Stratton)

European IY group_2746Thirty-two people from Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland, Slovenia, England and Wales met late May in Bergen, Norway to discuss new research with IY programs and dissemination principles. I (Carolyn) am delighted to meet these researchers, administrators and IY mentors and to talk with them about grant deadlines, translations, research measures and new studies.

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There are many presentations about promising new studies. Brenda Renz, IY parent mentor from Scotland, describes their plan for motivating high risk parents of 4-year old children by providing IY Basic Parent Training. 786 families have been enrolled and pre, post–data shows that 81% of parents had improved behavior problem scores and 62% of children had moved out of the clinical range.

Marija Anderluh, a child psychiatrist from Slovenia, discussed her efforts to bring the Incredible Years parent program to her country. Already 20 groups leaders have been trained and they are offering 10 parent groups!

Frances Gardner from Oxford University presented pooling data from 14 trials across Europe about who benefits the most from IY Parenting programs to reduce disruptive child behavior. She discussed the effects of poverty, joblessness, parent mental health, child comorbid problems, ethnicity and geographical location on outcomes.

Piia Karjalainen presented her doctoral research design to evaluate the IY Parent program for child welfare referred families.

IMG_9074 croppedFinally, I am able to introduce Wally’s mother, Carmen Communicator, to present information about the birth of three new Incredible Years® programs – one for day care providers of young children (1-5 years), another for parents with children on the autism spectrum, and a third for preschool teachers working with children with language delays as well as children on the spectrum.

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The European IY Network (EIY Network) is comprised of IY implementors, researchers, and IY experts from across Europe. The EIY Network aims to do the following:

  • Network with each other to form a supportive IY community throughout Europe to promote IY implementation with fidelity.
  • Share idea and experiences with implementation and research in IY series.
  • Generate and expand upon new ideas and initiatives, and apply for funding, in order to contribute to future research of IY.
  • Share expertise and experiences of IY to inform policies and practice in their own countries.
  • Discuss needs and opinions in order to devise common formulations, and bring those to the attention of the Incredible Years® Headquarters in Seattle.

This is an exciting group and I am so pleased to see how they have taken the collaborative process to the next level. The pooled data study Frances presented points the way to how collaborative research can enhance our understanding of how IY programs can help families of all cultures, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds.

Written by Carolyn Webster-Stratton
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New Research! The Incredible Years for Parents of Children on the Autism Spectrum

Two researchers at the University of Maryland, School of Social Work conducted a study to determine the acceptability and short-term outcomes of the Incredible Years® Parent Program (15- week, preschool basic version) for parents raising preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study utilized a pre-post design (with no control group) reported high parent acceptability of the program. Additionally, total stress related to the child was significantly decreased with intervention effect sizes from moderate to large following program completion (Sarah Dababnah & Parish, 2014). See article abstract on our website.

Dababnah, S. (2015). Feasibility of an empirically-based program for parents of preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder The International Journal of Research and Practice.

Dababnah, S., & Parish, S. L. (2014). Incredible Years Program Tailored to Parents of Preschoolers with Autism: Pilot Results Research on Social Work Practice, 10, 1-14.

A second paper was recently published (S. Dababnah, 2015) reporting qualitative data from individual interviews with parents. Parents reported they benefited most from child emotion regulation strategies, play-based child behavior skills, parent stress management, social support and visual resources. Parents interviews suggested they would like to see  additional vignettes of children with ASD, identify alternative “sensory” rewards and access to visual resources and they also wanted to add more sessions focused on individualized parent self-care and support.

Dababnah, S. (2015). Feasibility of an empirically-based program for parents of preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder The International Journal of Research and Practice.

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It is interesting this study should come out the same year that a new Incredible Years Parent Program for parents of children (ages 2-5) on the Autism Spectrum or with Language Delays was released. This new parent program includes vignettes of parents and children with ASD and language delays, incentives including sensory activities, visual resources, emotional and social coaching methods, pretend play enhancement, ways to promote children’s self-regulation skills and additional family support. The program can be used as a supplement to the basic IY parenting program or offered separately as a 14-week parent program. See below a short overview video for this program!


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Fathers and Parenting Groups (New Research)

father and son'For parents attending parenting skills groups, it is always encouraged that both partners be involved in the group when possible. This joint effort allows parents to be on the same page and provides consistency for the child. However, there is a lack of research looking specifically at the effects of fathers attending parenting groups.

Recently a new study was published by Tataiana Homen at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, evaluating the impact of the The Incredible Years® (IY) preschool parent program on fathers. In this study, the fathers of thirty-six children were randomly assigned to receive either the IY program or a control group. Researchers then reported on the father’s parenting skills and their children’s behavior.

Results from before the program and six months later showed significant improvements for the fathers attending the IY Parenting Groups. Not only did the fathers’ positive parenting skills improve, but the children’s prosocial behaviors benefited as well! Additionally, these fathers reported an improvement in their family’s quality of life, which is especially important. The fathers were highly involved as shown by great attendance rates. They reported high satisfaction with the program in terms of how their children’s behavior improved. The mothers’ reports followed the same trends as the fathers. 8-4B-3

These promising results suggest that father involvement in the parent programs may further promote social support in the family and increase consistency in parenting between mothers and fathers, thereby improving long term positive outcomes for children’s development.


1. Homem, T.C., et al., A Pilot Study with the Incredible Years Parenting Training: Does it Work for Fathers of Preschoolers with Oppositional Behavior Symptoms. Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice about Men as Fathers, 2014. 12(3).

Learn more about research on the evidence-based Incredible Years Programs from our research library!


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Positive Outcomes of Incredible Years® Parent/Child Program Implementation in Pennsylvania

family-blogThe Incredible Years® (IY) Series is implemented in a wide range of organizations all over the world. One organization in Pennsylvania, EPIS Center, has just released exciting results from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency funded providers of the implementation of the IY Parent and Child programs from 2013-2014.

Parents attended IY Parenting Classes to increase positive parenting practices including play, coaching methods, praise, problem-solving, limit setting, and more.

Additionally, children in one group received Classroom Dinosaur School – a prevention program delivered to a large group of children, teaching them social and emotional skills, academic skills, problem-solving, etc.

A second child group received Small Group Dinosaur School – a treatment program for children with diagnosed behavior or conduct problems – where a more targeted and intensive approach is taken in the program delivery.

episcenterquote12EPIS Center is an organization committed to quality, high-fidelity delivery ­– these results show how this commitment pays off!

Summary of results
Basic Parent Outcomes Summary (2013-2014)

Of 463 parents served, 70% attended at least 12 or more “sessions” (weekly parent classes). By the end of the class, those parents completing the groups reported many positive outcomes! 88% reported a decrease in harsh discipline, and 76% reported an increase in positive parenting.

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Classroom Dinosaur School Outcome Summary (2013-2014)

526 youth were served in this prevention program targeting children ages 3-8 years old. 86% of the children completed the program. Facilitators filled out pre and post surveys and reported that 48% of the students showed decreased antisocial behavior, 51% showed improved concentration/attention, and 52% showed increased emotional competence.

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Small Group Dinosaur School – Treatment Outcome Summary (2013-2014)

Of the 271 children served, 79% completed the program. Parents of the children completed pre and post tests: 76% reported decreased antisocial behavior in their child, 75% reported improved concentration/attention, and 79% reported increased emotional competence.

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It is fantastic to see such wonderful results from this model organization.

You can view the full report and learn about other agencies implementing IY with high success and fidelity, here.


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Stephen Scott Receives Order of the British Empire & Publishes New Long-Term Follow Up Research

Professor Stephen Basil Cuthbert Scott, MD, is the Director at the National Academy for Parenting Research. in London, England. The aim of this research program is to help practitioners deliver evidence-based parenting programs with fidelity and to test innovative approaches to the way services are delivered to families and children.

Stephen with his award

Stephen with his award

Earlier this year, Professor Scott was awarded the Commander of the Most Excellent, Order of the British Empire, for services to families. Congratulations Stephen!  (Learn more about this award, here.)

Stephen shaking hands with Prince William

Stephen shaking hands with Prince William

Stephen has published numerous studies on various evidence-based programs, including a long-term  follow up of two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining the effectiveness of treatment for children with antisocial personality traits. In the original trials, parents of the children participated in The Incredible Years® Parenting Program. This new research looks at the long-term results from this previous study.

This exciting publication is a 7-10 year follow-up of two RCTs that Stephen did with an indicated sample (children with severe antisocial behavior) and a selective sample (children labeled at high risk) when they were 3-7 years old. Results of the indicated sample were significantly improved for the parents who received the Incredible Years® (IY) Basic Parent Program at follow-up compared to parents who were in the usual psychotherapy treatment control condition. In the IY treatment condition group, parents noted their child’s emotion was warmer and supervision of adolescents was closer. Surprisingly, reading ability in the IY condition group was also improved compared with the usual treatment control condition. These results are important because of indications that early intervention for severely antisocial children may prevent the development of antisocial personality in adolescence and improved academic performance. It is also important because it is the first study to provide a long term follow-up evaluation of parents who received the IY intervention compared with families who received “usual treatment” in mental health centers.

In contrast, follow-up of the “selected high risk” sample who received the IY program in combination with a reading intervention did not show sustained effects compared with the control group families, despite having had good results in the short term. Possible reasons that these families did not show as much long-term improvement could be due to the fact that they had lower program dosage (did not receive as many parenting class sessions) as the indicated sample (families with children with severe antisocial behaviors). Additionally, this sample of families was not provided with ongoing support and booster sessions, which is particularly helpful for high-risk populations.

Scott, S., Briskman, J., & O’Connor, T. G. (2014) Early Prevention of Antisocial Personality: Long-term Follow-Up of Two Randomized Controlled Trials Comparing Indicated and Selected Approaches. American Journal of Psychiatry. Read the article here.

Be sure to look at Stephen’s other studies on our web site in the research library. Stay tuned for more research outcomes by this author, coming out soon.


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Guest Post: Center for ADHD in Denmark

The Center for ADHD in Denmark implements Incredible Years® Parent Training

Guest post by Tea Trillingsgaard
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No cost and no entry conditions

In Aarhus, Denmark, the Center for ADHD invites parents of young children with ADHD or related behavioral difficulties to attend the Incredible Years® Parent Training program at no cost and with no need of referral or diagnosis. And this approach works!

Effective strategy

Results from a new research study in press in Scandinavian Journal of Psychology[1] show that Danish parents who self-refer to free parent training have children with symptom levels similar to those found diagnosed ADHD samples. Furthermore, when benchmarking results from the Danish program against comparable studies by Carolyn Webster-Stratton and her colleagues[2] in recent US studies, the Danish version was as effective with regard to reducing ADHD symptoms, reducing disruptive behavior, and enhancing positive parenting practices. (Find links to articles at the end of this post.)

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The story of Center for ADHD

The Center for ADHD was founded in 2010 by Agnete Kirk Thinggaard, a MsO psychologist and member of the LEGO family, who wished to reduce long wait lists for diagnostic evaluation and increase easy access to parenting support for families of young children struggling with ADHD or related behavioral difficulties. Agnete Kirk Thinggaard also serves on the board of Edith and Godtfred Kirk Christansens Foundation, which supports the center.

What else is going on?

The staff at Center for ADHD consists of a secretary and six psychologists who, in addition to conducting The Incredible Years® Basic program, train and supervise teachers, day care providers, education and social workers and others working with children with ADHD or related behavioral difficulties. Center for ADHD is continually collaborating on research projects carried out at the Aarhus University.

Center for ADHD Staff

The staff at the Center for ADHD, saying hello from Denmark!

[1] Trillingsgaard, Trillingsgaard, & Webster-Stratton (in press). Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. Click here to read article.

[2] Webster-Stratton, Reid & Beauchaine (2011; 2012): Click here to read article.