Duration and mutual entrainment of changes in parenting practices engendered by behavioral parent training targeting recently separated mothers

J Fam Psychol. 2013 Jun;27(3):343-54. doi: 10.1037/a0032887.


Parent management training (PMT) has beneficial effects on child and parent adjustment that last for 5 to 10 years. Short-term changes in parenting practices have been shown to mediate these effects, but the manner in which changes in specific components of parenting are sequenced and become reciprocally reinforcing (or mutually entrained) to engender and sustain the cascade of long-term beneficial effects resulting from PMT has received modest empirical attention. Long-term changes in parenting resulting from the Oregon model of PMT (PMTO) over a 2-year period were examined using data from the Oregon Divorce Study-II in which 238 recently separated mothers and their 6- to 10-year-old sons were randomly assigned to PMTO or a no treatment control (NTC) group. Multiple indicators of observed parenting practices were used to define constructs for positive parenting, monitoring and discipline at baseline, and at 6-, 12-, 18- and 30-months postbaseline. PMTO relative to NTC resulted in increased positive parenting and prevented deterioration in discipline and monitoring over the 30-month period. There were reliable sequential, transactional relationships among parenting practices; positive parenting supported better subsequent monitoring, and positive parenting and better monitoring supported subsequent effective discipline. Small improvements in parenting resulting from PMTO and small deteriorations in parenting in the NTC group may be sustained and amplified by mutually entrained relationships among parenting practices. These data about the change processes engendered by PMTO may provide information needed to enhance the power, effectiveness, and efficiency of behavioral parent training interventions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / therapy
  • Divorce / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / education
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Psychotherapy, Group / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult