Prevention of child behavior problems through universal implementation of a group behavioral family intervention

Stephen R. Zubrick, Kristine A. Ward, Sven R. Silburn, David Lawrence, Anwen A. Williams, Eve Blair, Deborah Robertson, Matthew R. Sanders

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The aim of this mental health promotion initiative was to evaluate the effectiveness of a universally delivered group behavioral family intervention (BFI) in preventing behavior problems in children. This study investigates the transferability of an efficacious clinical program to a universal prevention intervention delivered through child and community health services targeting parents of preschoolers within a metropolitan health region. A quasi-experimental two-group (BFI, n = 804 vs. Comparison group, n = 806) longitudinal design followed preschool aged children and their parents over a 2-year period. BFI was associated with significant reductions in parent- reported levels of dysfunctional parenting and parent-reported levels of child behavior problems. Effect sizes on child behavior problems ranged from large (.83) to moderate (.47). Positive and significant effects were also observed in parent mental health, marital adjustment, and levels of child rearing conflict. Findings are discussed with respect to their implication for significant population reductions in child behavior problems as well as the pragmatic challenges for prevention science in encouraging both the evaluation and uptake of preventive initiatives in real world settings. © 2005 Society for Prevention Research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)287-304
    Number of pages17
    JournalPrevention Science
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


    • Conduct problems
    • Parent training
    • Prevention


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