The objective of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of parenting programs in reducing child maltreatment and modifying associated factors as well as to examine the moderator variables that are linked to program effects. For this meta-analysis, we searched nine electronic databases to identify randomized controlled trials published before September 2013. The effect sizes of various outcomes at different time points were computed. From the 3,578 studies identified, we selected 37 studies for further analysis. The total random effect size was 0.296. Our results showed that parenting programs successfully reduced substantiated and self-reported child maltreatment reports and reduced the potential for child maltreatment. The programs also reduced risk factors and enhanced protective factors associated with child maltreatment. However, the effects of the parenting programs on reducing parental depression and stress were limited. Parenting programs produced positive effects in low-, middle-, and high-income countries and were effective in reducing child maltreatment when applied as primary, secondary, or tertiary child maltreatment intervention. In conclusion, parenting programs are effective public health approaches to reduce child maltreatment. The evidence-based service of parenting programs could be widely adopted in future practice.
Keywords: child maltreatment; effectiveness; parenting programs; prevention.
© The Author(s) 2015.