An exploration of parenting programmes: Staff and parent experiences of implementation

  • Jennifer Butler

Student thesis: Doctor of Clinical Psychology


This thesis explored both parent and staff experiences of the implementation of parenting programmes using qualitative methodologies. The thesis consists of three papers: 1) a systematic literature review, 2) an empirical study and 3) a critical reflection of the research process. The systematic review (Paper 1) is a qualitative metasynthesis of parent's perceptions and experiences of parenting programmes. Twenty-six studies were included, spanning 17 years of parenting research in seven different countries and involving 822 parents. A thematic synthesis derived three main themes and nine subthemes: 1) a family's journey (prior to the parenting programme, outcomes and post-intervention), 2) aspects perceived to be important or valuable (group leader or facilitator, programme content and delivery and value of the group) and 3) challenges or difficulties (barriers to engagement or attendance, programme content and suggestions for improvement). Outcomes of parenting programmes included changes in the parent, alongside changes in the child and family more widely. The utility of parenting programmes as a means of early intervention were emphasised. In light of these findings, recommendations are made to improve provision of accessible, clinically and cost-effective interventions for parents striving to meet the challenges of their caregiving role. The empirical paper (Paper 2) explored staff implementation of a self-directed parenting intervention for parents with mental health difficulties. Triple P self-help workbooks were provided to existing front-line staff. Data were collected regarding workbook uptake and use. Semi-structured interviews with twelve practitioners explored their perspectives and experiences of implementation. Thematic analysis of interview data revealed practitioner concerns, views of the intervention and implementation issues. Whilst uptake and utilisation were varied, practitioners who did use the work reported positive outcomes. Findings were considered in relation to existing literature to make recommendations for overcoming barriers to implementation and facilitating a family-focused approach to meet the needs of parents with mental health difficulties and their children. Paper 3 provides a critical appraisal of the research process. The strengths and limitations of the work, the challenges faced and its contribution to this field of research are considered. The researchers' personal reflections on the process are offered.
Date of Award31 Dec 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorRachel Calam (Supervisor), Anja Wittkowski (Supervisor) & Lynsey Gregg (Supervisor)

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