Objective To test the effectiveness at one year of the Webster Stratton Parents and Children Series group parenting programme in a population sample of parents\ud Design multicentre block randomised controlled trial\ud Setting 3 urban General Practices in Oxford.\ud Participants Parents of children aged 2-8 years in 116 families who scored in the upper 50% on a behaviour inventory.\ud Intervention Webster-Stratton’s 10-week parenting programme led by health visitors.\ud Outcome measures. Eyberg Child Behaviour Inventory, Goodman Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, General Health Questionnaire, Parenting Stress Index, Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale. Qualitative interviews with volunteer parents from both intervention and control groups immediately post intervention.\ud Results The intervention significantly reduced child behaviour problems and improved mental health at immediate and 6-month follow-ups. One-year differences between control and intervention groups were not significant. Possible methodological reasons for this are: Hawthorne effects and contamination of control group. At interview parents spoke of a need for further sessions and a desire for attendance by both parents. They also described how, as a result of the programme, they had gained in confidence,\ud felt less stressed, shouted less and achieved more cooperation from their children.\ud Conclusions Parenting programmes have the potential to promote mental health and reduce social inequalities, but further work is needed to improve long-term effectiveness
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