Background: Previous research provides clear evidence for the importance of parenting practices as an early childhood risk factor for the development of conduct problems. This study examines the preventive effect of the Incredible Years (IY) parent training program in a population-based sample of families with pre-school children at risk for developing disruptive behaviour disorders (ODD and/ or CD). This parent management training is aimed at enhancing the parenting skills in order to reduce conduct problems in children. Method: A total of 144 children with a score at or above the 80th percentile on the aggression scale of the CBCL at age 4, was enrolled in this study. The participating families in the intervention group (n=72) and the families in the control group (n=72) were matched on six characteristics which have been proven to affect either the developmental course of the child's disruptive behavior or to be a moderator of treatment effect. Parent practices were measured pre-treatment, post-treatment and 1 year after finishing IY, using the Parent Practices Interview and the Daily Discipline Interview. Results: Using a paired samples t-test, post-treatment improvements were found in appropriate discipline, praise and incentives and limit setting and reductions were found in harsh and inconsistent discipline, physical punishment and criticism. Results showed also significant differences between the intervention group and the control group 1 year after the intervention. There were still improvements in appropriate discipline and using praise and reductions in harsh and inconsistent discipline and giving commands. Conclusion: The Incredible Years parenting program significantly improved parenting practices. Improvements in positive parenting and reductions in negative parenting support the potential of the intervention to prevent later conduct problems in high risk children
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