Considerable research points to the relatively high prevalence of young children's oppositional, defiant, and disruptive behaviors and their importance in establishing long-term problematic trajectories for later socioemotional, conduct, and academic problems (Campbell, 1995), such as substance use, delinquency, and school failure. The skill with which parents are able to handle these challenging behaviors will influence the long-term developmental trajectories of their children. Parent training programs have shown much value in reducing behavior problems for children of a broad range of ages, thereby reducing their risk for subsequent substance use and other problems of adolescence. The reach of these parenting pro- grams are limited, however, by substantial challenges in recruiting and retaining parents, such that most parents who could benefit from parenting assistance never receive it. Reducing the prevalence of disruptive behavior problems will require public health approaches for improving parenting practices that make evidence-based parenting interventions widely available and accessible in a range of formats. The mass media, and television in particular, hold significant potential as part of a population-wide strategy for bringing evidence-based parenting practices to a broad range of parents experiencing challenges raising their children. The potential of television for affecting parenting has received very little research attention, however;thus, little is known about how media messages to affect parenting practices might be optimally designed. This study will develop and experimentally evaluate two variants of a 10-episode, brief (7 minutes per episode), video-based, infotainment-style broadcast-quality media series targeted at parenting practices, derived from the Triple P-Positive Parenting Program (Sanders, 1999). A sample of 300 families of children ages 3-6 years with somewhat elevated disruptive behavior problems will be randomized to (a) receive an Information-Only version of the series that includes only modeling and demonstration of target parenting skills, (b) receive an Enhanced Behavior Activation version of the series designed to actively pro- mote parental behavior change, through elements addressing attributions, self-efficacy and expectancies, social support, and emotional reactivity, or (c) Waitlist Control. Measures of parents'parenting practices, cognitions, affect, and social support, and children's disruptive behavior problems, will be obtained at base- line, post-intervention, and 6-month follow-up. The relative efficacy of the Standard and Enhanced versions of the Triple P Media Series in improving these outcomes will be examined, as well as moderators of these effects, such as baseline level of behavior problems and parental stress. This study will further our under- standing of the potential value of television programming for improving parenting practices. Bringing effective parenting programs to large numbers of parents through television has the potential to reduce the prevalence of children's behavior problems, and to reduce risks for later problems such as substance use.
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