Academic journal article School Community Journal

Engaging Urban Parents of Early Adolescents in Parenting Interventions: Home Visits vs. Group Sessions

Academic journal article School Community Journal

Engaging Urban Parents of Early Adolescents in Parenting Interventions: Home Visits vs. Group Sessions

Article excerpt

Introduction

Parents are the primary socialization agents, remaining central to all aspects of adolescent development, including the formation of attitudes and behaviors related to academic engagement and aggression. For early adolescents growing up in low-income, urban, African American communities, family can be a critical asset. Behavioral parent training programs have been established as an effective way to address behavior problems in children (Dretzke et ah, 2009). These programs are usually manualized, short-term interventions, often presented in a group format, which teach parents how to build positive relationships with their children and learn consistent, appropriate responses to aggression and other discipline problems.

Parental involvement in prevention interventions is important for early adolescents' academic success (Eccles & FJarold, 1993; Jeynes, 2007). Enhancing parent involvement can lead to improvement in academic engagement and family communication skills while contributing to decreased aggressive behaviors (Centers for Disease Control, 2013). In addition, some research demonstrates that low parent involvement is directly related to school violence indicators such as school aggression or conduct problems (Hill & Tyson, 2004).

There has been limited research conducted on whether or not the mode of delivery for parent education programs and/or prevention interventions has an impact on parents' adherence to the intervention, especially among parents of early adolescents. For example, little research examines whether group formats, home visitation programs, or formats that combine home visiting with group intervention components influence parental participation in prevention programs. In addition, behavioral parent education programs have been plagued with low enrollment and attendance thereby limiting the contributions which they could make both to participants and to prevention research as a field.

Intervention Delivery Modality

Very little research has examined whether or not the mode of delivery for parent education programs has an impact on parental engagement. In their comparison of three variants of individualized sessions in a behavioral family intervention-enhanced, standard, and self-directed-Sanders and colleagues found no differences in rates of completion across groups (Sanders, Markie-Dadds, Tully, & Bor, 2000). Home visitation and group-based programs are two common parenting intervention delivery modes. Home visitation has been considered to be optimal for low-income families who may otherwise experience transportation and other obstacles that are associated with seeking services outside of the home and has been used primarily with prospective parents and parents with young children (Sweet & Appelbaum, 2004). Child Trends (Kahn & Moore, 2010) recently conducted a literature review of home visiting programs segmented by target population (infants, early childhood, middle childhood, adolescents). Twenty-one home visiting programs targeting adolescents (ages 12-17) were identified, compared to 51 programs for infants and early childhood (ages 0-5; Kahn & Moore, 2010). Group-based interventions are also widely used and may be considered a more cost-effective alternative to individualized or home-based formats (Cunningham, Bremner, & Boyle, 1995; Gardner, Burton, & Klimes, 2006). There is very little research examining whether enrollment and attendance in sessions varies as a function of delivery modality (group versus home-based), especially among parents of adolescents.

Enrollment and Attendance in Prevention Interventions

Risk and protective factors associated with youth engagement in health risk behaviors often are influenced by parents' caregiving practices (Brody, Murry, Chen, Kogan, & Brown, 2006). Therefore, parenting behaviors are often the target of many prevention programs designed to address risky behavior among youth. …

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