Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health

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Drop-out from parenting training programmes: a retrospective study

Patrice Friars, David Mellor


Objective:Parent training programmes are a well-established treatment approach for children and adolescents with disruptive behaviour disorders. However, dropout from treatment is a common problem that confounds research on the efficacy of this approach, and wastes important mental health resources. This study sought to further our understanding of the reasons why parents drop out of parent training programmes.
Method: Nine parents of children with disruptive  behaviour disorders who had dropped out of a parent training programme were interviewed to investigate why they discontinued the  programme.
Results: Parents who dropped out of treatment believed that their children were more difficult  than other children with the same disorder and may have been better suited to a child-focused  intervention. The parents themselves had very stressful lives, with the majority being single mothers with little support. Dropout parents also had difficulty with the group context and putting strategies into place. Practical concerns included parking, timing of session and the length and number of sessions.
Conclusions: The findings are discussed in terms of what modifications can be made to these programmes to increase retention.

Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health 2009, 21(1): 29–38

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