The goal of this brief report is to demonstrate the utility of quantifying parental discipline practices as relative frequencies in measuring changes in parenting behavior and relations to child behavior following intervention. We explored comparisons across methodological approaches of assessing parenting behavior via absolute and relative frequencies in measuring improvements in parent-reported disciplinary practices (increases in positive parenting practices in response to child behavior; decreases in inconsistent discipline and use of corporal punishment) and child behavior problems. The current study was conducted as part of a larger clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of a collaborative care intervention for behavior problems, ADHD, and anxiety in pediatric primary care practices (Doctor Office Collaborative Care; DOCC). Participants were 321 parent-child dyads (M child age = 8.00, 65 % male children) from eight pediatric practices that were cluster randomized to DOCC or enhanced usual care (EUC). Parents reported on their own discipline behaviors and child behavior problems. While treatment-related decreases in negative parenting were found using both the absolute and relative frequencies of parenting behaviors, results were different for positive parenting behaviors, which showed decreases when measured as absolute frequencies but increases when measured as relative frequencies. In addition, positive parenting was negatively correlated with child behavior problems when using relative frequencies, but not absolute frequencies, and relative frequencies of positive parenting mediated relations between treatment condition and outcomes. Our findings indicate that the methods used to measure treatment-related change warrant careful consideration.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 29, 2016
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