Prevention of child behavior problems through universal implementation of a group behavioral family intervention

Prev Sci. 2005 Dec;6(4):287-304. doi: 10.1007/s11121-005-0013-2.


The aim of this mental health promotion initiative was to evaluate the effectiveness of a universally delivered group behavioral family intervention (BFI) in preventing behavior problems in children. This study investigates the transferability of an efficacious clinical program to a universal prevention intervention delivered through child and community health services targeting parents of preschoolers within a metropolitan health region. A quasi-experimental two-group (BFI, n = 804 vs. Comparison group, n = 806) longitudinal design followed preschool aged children and their parents over a 2-year period. BFI was associated with significant reductions in parent- reported levels of dysfunctional parenting and parent-reported levels of child behavior problems. Effect sizes on child behavior problems ranged from large (.83) to moderate (.47). Positive and significant effects were also observed in parent mental health, marital adjustment, and levels of child rearing conflict. Findings are discussed with respect to their implication for significant population reductions in child behavior problems as well as the pragmatic challenges for prevention science in encouraging both the evaluation and uptake of preventive initiatives in real world settings.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Child Behavior Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Child Health Services*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Conduct Disorder / prevention & control*
  • Family Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Program Development*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Health Services