PFSC - Research - Current

Current Research

The following projects are currently being conducted by staff and students at the Parenting and Family Support Centre.

All Research

Assessment of Children and Parenting

The project aims to evaluate a newly developed child and parenting assessment tool, for subsequent use in a range of research projects evaluating parenting interventions and programs. While there are a number of existing questionnaires which measure child behavior and parenting they suffer from a number of limitations including: costs associated with use, licensing requirements, lack of tools for certain important domains (e.g., parent-child relationships), difficulty with scoring, and length of measures. The questionnaire has been developed to assess child behavioural and emotional adjustment, parenting practices, parent-child and family relationships and demographic information. The aim of the study is to pilot, refine and validate the measure for use in clinical and non-clinical assessment of families.

Chief Investigators: Alina Morawska, Matt Sanders, Divna Haslam
Project Coordinator: Alina Morawska

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Baby Triple P

Helping new parents prepare for the transition to parenthood.

Baby Triple P is designed to support parents during the transition to first-time parenthood. Baby Triple P aims to give babies a healthy start in life by enhancing their parent’s knowledge, skills and confidence in early parenting practices. In addition, it intends to protect the mental and emotional well-being of men and women as they become parents.

Baby Triple P is a program that offers practical ideas and ongoing support to help parents deal with the everyday situations that can often stress parents of newborns. The program involves four 2-hour parent group sessions (delivered over four consecutive weeks). Groups are run at the University of Queensland at the Parenting and Family Support Centre.

Starting in 2013, this program will be offered free-of-charge to parents expecting their first baby and are between weeks 20 and 35 weeks pregnant, and in a couple relationship, in exchange for research participation. Recruitment ends March 2015.

Website: exp.psy.uq.edu.au/baby

Chief Investigators: Mandy Mihelic, Dr Alina Morawska, Dr Ania Filus
Project Coordinator: Mandy Mihelic

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Delivering Triple P with Indigenous child welfare agencies

Indigenous children experience disadvantages on most indices of health, education and wellbeing. Presenting high rates of behavioural and emotional problems, indigenous children are also significantly over represented in the child protection system. Currently in Queensland, Australia Indigenous children make up 6.5% of the population however they account for 37% of the number of children in child protection care. Effective parenting is the best way to reduce dysfunctional parenting and child emotional and behavioural problems however, few indigenous parents access evidence-based parenting programs and even fewer practitioners are delivering programs with an evidence-base to Indigenous parents.

This project evaluates the implementation of a culturally- tailored evidence-based parenting program, Indigenous Triple P. Focusing on the development and evaluation of a unique partnership between the University of Queensland’s Parenting and Family Support Centre (as program developers), Triple P International (as the training organisation), and the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP) to support the roll out of Triple P through Family Support Workers working in the Queensland Indigenous child protection and family support sectors. The aim is to develop an implementation and sustainability framework for rolling out this culturally-adapted evidence-based parenting intervention delivered as a preventative and early intervention service to Indigenous child welfare organisations. This research project will use a partnership model framework for intervention dissemination to build capacity and support program uptake and sustainability. Sixty Indigenous practitioners have been trained in the delivery of Group Indigenous, Standard, and Primary Care Triple P.

Chief Investigator: Professor Matthew Sanders, Dr Karen Turner and Ms Lauren Hodge
Project Manager: Lauren Hodge
Funding: ARC Linkage Grant partnering with Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak for 3 years (January 2012-January 2015) for $$363,943

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Developing Triple P for migrant and former-refugee families following resettlement in Australia

Migrant and former-refugee families face a multitude of challenges during the process of resettlement and those from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds are particularly at risk of disadvantage across a number of indicators of health and psychological wellbeing. For refugee and migrant families, the experience of post-migration hardships may contribute to negative psychosocial outcomes following resettlement. Poor adjustment following resettlement also has a number of broader implications including reduced community integration and economic participation. Therefore, as migration numbers continue to rise, finding means to promote the participation and psychological wellbeing of these families is of paramount importance. However, despite increased awareness regarding the potential impact of adaptation hardships, there is a scarcity of research exploring mechanisms which may be used to facilitate positive family relationships and assist with adjustment during the settlement period.

Evidence-based parenting programs (such as the Triple-P Positive Parenting Program) have demonstrated the ability to improve both parent and child outcomes through increasing parents’ self-efficacy and supporting the formation of stable family relationships. Furthermore, the cross-cultural applicability of these programs is well established. Therefore, this body of research will examine the perceived usefulness of an existing positive parenting intervention aimed at improving family adjustment following resettlement and inform whether cultural and contextual adaptations are required in order to increase the applicability of the program. More broadly, through the delivery of a culturally and contextually appropriate parenting intervention it is hoped that the wellbeing and adjustment of resettled families may be promoted and by extension, community integration and participation facilitated.

Chief Investigators: Kathryn Monty, Dr Divna Haslam, Dr Ania Filus, and Dr Alina Morawska
Project Coordinator: Kathryn Monty

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Engaging online: Assessing the efficacy of online delivery for the Triple P-Positive Parenting Program for parents of children with a disability

The Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) system is a well-validated parenting and family support strategy that aims to prevent the development of behavioural and emotional problems in typically developing children by enhancing the knowledge, skills and confidence of parents. Stepping Stones Triple P extends the standard Triple P system to specifically address the needs of families who have a child with a disability.

In response to consumer demand, an online version of the standard Triple P program has been developed. This online program targets parents with children aged between 2 and 10 years who do not have a disability. The current research project extends the Standard Triple P research by evaluating the efficacy of the online delivery modality with parents and carers of children aged between 2 and 10 years who do have a disability.

To ensure delivery of the additional disability-specific strategies that would normally from part of Stepping Stones Triple P, parents will be provided with a supplementary handbook and training DVD incorporating these strategies. Parents will also receive weekly therapist support via telephone or email contact, as well as access to an online, 'closed' social media support group where they can ‘meet’ other parents. No face-to-face therapist contact will occur at any time.

The main research questions to be addressed will be whether the ‘modified’ online Standard Triple P programme + supports i.e., ‘Online Triple P (D)’ is able to deliver similar results to the well-validated face-to-face Standard Triple P programme in relation to:

  1. Child behaviour and emotional outcomes.
  2. Parental skills, adjustment and confidence.

A secondary aim of the research will be to identify and evaluate information concerning programme acceptability and satisfaction, as well as satisfaction with the technology/ telehealth supports used.

Chief Investigators: Ms Sharon Hinton, Associate Professor Kate Sofronoff
Associate Advisor: Professor Matt Sanders

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Group Triple P for Chinese families

A substantial amount of evidence has indicated the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program is effective in improving parenting and reducing child emotional and behavioral problems when disseminated in developed countries, but its effectiveness has rarely been examined in developing countries. Moreover, it is unknown if Triple P can have any effects on children's academic lives. As a developing country, China has the largest population and a unique culture in the world. The popular confucious philosophy has influenced Chinese people across every aspects of daily life including parenting practices, and this culture might influence the effects of a western developed parenting program on Chinese parents and children. Also, Chinese parents are fairly concerned about children’s academic performance, however no research has examined whether a parenting program can help Chinese parents to improve children’s academic outcomes.

To fill in these gaps, Group Triple P intervention has been provided for Chinese parents in Shanghai using a randomized control design, which aimed to evaluate the effects of Group Triple P with Chinese parents and particularly to examine the effects of the intervention on parent outcomes related to child academic learning and children’s academic outcomes in Mainland China. The results showed that compared with the control group, parents in the intervention group reported significant improvement in dysfunctional parenting practices, parental adjustment, and child adjustment problems and an increase in parenting confidence at post-assessment. Moreover, there was a significant increase in parents’ satisfaction with children’s academic achievement and a reduction in children’s academic problem behaviours at post-intervention. All the above effects were maintained at six-month follow up. Furthermore, there was also a significant increase in child-reported positive parenting at post-intervention, though it was not maintained at six-month follow up.

Chief investigators: Mingchun Guo, Alina Morawska, Matt Sanders
Project coordinator: Mingchun Guo

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International Parent Survey

The International Parent Survey (IPS) is a web based survey of parental views on various aspects of family life and parenting, which has been developed to address this gap in the population level assessment of parenting. It is a collaboration between the Parenting and Family Support Centre, The University of Queensland, and the University of Bielefeld, Department of Psychology, Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. The aims of this collaborative survey project are to:

  • Strengthen links between international researchers working in the field of population based approaches to parenting intervention.
  • Establish cross-national baseline data on parenting practices, parenting needs and child emotional and behavioural adjustment, as well as parental participation, and investigating aids and barriers to engagement in parenting programs.
  • Create an international database on parent consumer preferences in relation to parenting interventions.
  • Give voice to all parents, including fathers and those from diverse cultural backgrounds, on their preferences in relation to parenting interventions.

Chief Investigators: Nina Heinrichs, Alina Morawska, Matt Sanders, Dr Ania Filus
Project Coordinator: Alina Morawska

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Parenting in the refugee context: Assessment of acceptability and effectiveness of Triple P program among refugee parents in Australia

There are currently 11 million refugees in the world (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees). Australia is one of the top three refugee resettlement countries in the world per capita, accepting approximately 15,000 humanitarian entrants yearly; 40% of whom are children (Australia’s Offshore Humanitarian Program: 2012-2013; Belconnen, 2013). Resettled refugee families are a disadvantaged population on most indices of health and wellbeing and refugee children are particularly at risk (Valtonen, 1999; Ajdukovic, & Ajdukovic, 1993; Daud, Klinteberg & Rydelius, 2008; Fox, Cowell & Montgomery, 1999). A strong body of research shows that parenting interventions can reduce family risk factors and improve child outcomes and many of these programs have demonstrated cross-cultural effectiveness among parents facing adversity (Sanders, 2012; Leung et al., 2003; Matsumoto et al., 2010). The proposed study, involving 60 refugee parents from Sydney, who have been in Australia between 6 months and 5 years, will evaluate whether evidence-based parenting support, Triple P-Positive Parenting program, can enhance parental socio-emotional adjustment, self-efficacy, positive parenting practices and by these means refugee child’s adjustment. The secondary aim is to investigate parenting experiences of refugee parents in Australia before and after receiving Triple P program with a view to identifying what type of family support is needed and what type of barriers merit the access to family support among refugee families. The research project is on the way and its progress including the methodology and challenges will be presented at the session.

Chief Investigators: Dragana Koncar, Professor Matt Sanders, Dr Ania Filus
Project coordinator: Dragana Koncar

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Positive parenting for healthy living with Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases amongst children. The incidence of type 1 diabetes is increasing world-wide and it is predicted that annually about 65,000 children under 15 years of age worldwide develop type 1 diabetes.

Positive Parenting for Healthy Living with Type 1 Diabetes is an adaptation of the successful Triple P - Positive Parenting Program, offering practical ideas and support for parents of children with type 1 diabetes. This innovative group program is designed to help parents manage their child’s illness, assist children in coping with their illness and emotions, and prevent and manage difficult child behaviour.

Website: exp.psy.uq.edu.au/t1diabetes for more information.

Chief Investigators: Ms Aditi Lohan, Dr Alina Morawska, and Dr Amy Mitchell
Project Coordinators: Ms Aditi Lohan and Dr Amy Mitchell

Practitioner-supported Triple P Online

Research suggests that many parents now prefer online approaches to accessing support. Online programs have the potential to reach parents that would not typically attend a face-to-face program due to lack of time, childcare considerations, limited access in the local area, or other barriers. Triple P Online is an engaging, interactive parenting program built with the aim of being both flexible and achievable for the busy parent. Short video clips provide insight into why children behave the way they do, while online activities guide parents through learning and applying a range of helpful parenting strategies in their own home. Other features include an online workbook, useful for keeping track of progress, and access to downloadable resources and podcasts that might come in handy for a partner or just a refresher at a later date.

Previous research trials have demonstrated parents benefit from Triple P Online in a number of ways. One of the main focuses of this research project is to explore whether brief, regular telephone support with a Triple P practitioner extends these benefits and helps families get even more out of the program.

For more information go to tpo-project.com.au. Enrolments for this research project are currently closed. We expect results from the trial to be available towards the end of 2015.

Chief Investigators: Jamin Day, Professor Matt Sanders
Project Coordinator: Jamin Day

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Resilience Triple P for Families of Children Bullied by Peers

Around 1 in 10 children are bullied by their peers almost every day. Bullying increases risk of depression, anxiety, health problems, school difficulties and friendship problems. Many schools work hard to address bullying, however, research shows that school programs do little to assist frequent victims of bullying. Parents of children bullied by peers are often desperate to assist their children, but as yet there are no evidence-based programs to guide their efforts. Resilience Triple P is a program to empower children and their families to effectively address bullying. The program trains children to handle difficult peer situations and skills parents in supporting their children’s development and negotiating appropriate support from the school. Trialing of Resilience Triple P commenced in 2009 with 150 families concerned about bullying of their 5-10 year old children.

Chief Investigators: Ms Karyn Healy and Professor Matt Sanders
Project Coordinator: Ms Karyn Healy

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Resilience Triple P with at-risk Indigenous Families

Australian Indigenous children are significantly over represented in the child protection system. In the state of Queensland alone, Indigenous children make up only 6.5% of the population (2011 census); however, they account for 40% of the children in child protection care (based on June 2014 statistics). Nationally, Indigenous children are considered 8 times more likely to be subjects of substantiation (in need of protection) than non-Indigenous children. Teaching effective parenting skills is the best way to address the issues that necessitate the need for child protection within a family; however, few families involved in child protection access evidence-based parenting programs.

This project evaluates the implementation of a culturally adapted evidence-based program, Resilience Triple P, as a preventative strategy with Indigenous families who are at risk of having their children relinquished. Resilience Triple P not only teaches parents skills in supporting their children’s development, but also teaches children new skills, building their resilience in difficult situations, particularly bullying; empowering children and their caregivers. Approximately 1 in 10 children are bullied daily and many would argue that for Indigenous children, in already disadvantaged home situations, this number is much higher. Building resilience in children dealing with some form of bullying has the ability to increase their resilience within other difficult situations that arise in their lives.

Chief Investigator: Professor Matthew Sanders, Dr. Karen Turner, Dr. Karyn Healy and Miss Cari McIlduff
Project Manager: Cari McIlduff

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Stepping Stones Triple P: Acceptability and efficacy of a parenting program with Indigenous families with a child with a disability

This project aims to evaluate the acceptability and efficacy of an evidence-based intervention (Stepping Stones Triple P) with Indigenous families who have a child with a disability in New South Wales and Queensland. The research will explore barriers and enablers for families in accessing parenting support, as well as perceptions of preferred delivery formats; develop a culturally acceptable Level 4 Stepping Stones Triple P Program for Aboriginal and Torres Islander parents; evaluate the effectiveness of this program in increasing effective parenting and family relationships and decreasing child emotional and behaviour problems, and finally, examine the cultural relevance of Stepping Stones Triple P for these families.

This project consists of three studies. In the first study, focus groups will be used to identify types of emotional, social and behavioural difficulties experienced by children, disability services currently accessed, and awareness of available parenting services and preferences for accessing parental support as well as barriers and enablers. Auditory recordings will be transcribed and analysed. In the second study the Stepping Stones Triple P Program that has been tailored using information from Study 1 will be implemented. Education staff will be recruited, trained and supervised to deliver the Program. In the final study, parents from Study 2 will attend focus groups to gather information regarding tailoring of the Program. In addition, focus groups for facilitators will be held to evaluate the Program and identify partnerships and administrative supports that would promote the Program’s sustainability.

Chief Investigators: Fiona Hoath, Associate Professor Kate Sofronoff
Project Coordinator: Fiona Hoath

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The Parent and Infant Survey

Investigating Early Feeding Practices and Parental Perceptions

Fostering positive feeding practices in the first two years of life is important because this represents a great opportunity for parents to lay the foundations of future healthy eating habits and living for their children.

In order to discover new ways to promote appropriate feeding in early childhood, researchers from the University of Queensland are now conducting a survey Australia-wide aiming to learn more about parents’ experiences, views and needs about feeding their baby. The findings of this preliminary study will inform the development of a parenting intervention that will be trialed in a later project. The key aim of the present research is to find efficient strategies to support parents in using positive feeding practices from the start.

The findings of this preliminary study have then informed the development of a new parenting intervention, Baby Healthy Living – Triple P, that is currently being trialled in the Brisbane area.

Chief Investigators: Agnes Gelmini and Dr Alina Morawska.
Project Coordinator: Agnes Gelmini

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Triple P Direct as an Online Parent Support Strategy

The internet is increasingly becoming a modality of choice for parents looking for information on parenting and child development, and online programs have the potential to offer easy and flexible access to evidence-based parenting support. This project will develop am interactive web-based version of Level 4 Triple P and evaluate outcomes for parents of 3-8 year old children with behaviour problems. The way parents use the program and reactions to this mode of delivery will also be explored.

Chief Investigators: Professor Matt Sanders and Dr Karen Turner
Project Coordinator: Ms Sabine Joachim

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Triple P for Healthy Living – Lifestyle Seminar Series

Raising healthy children is an important aspect to positive parenting. Your child’s physical health can affect their growth and development, their ability to participate in school, sport and other activities, as well as how they get along with other children.

The Lifestyle Triple P Seminar Series is a program that empowers the entire family to live a healthy lifestyle. It offers parents practical and simple strategies to encourage their child to eat well and be active. The program involves three, 90-minute parent sessions (delivered over three consecutive weeks). Groups are run at Ipswich and Brisbane during the school term, and dates/times will be confirmed upon registration.

Researchers at the Parenting and Family Support Centre at the University of Queensland are currently offering this program free-of-charge to parents of children aged 3 - 7 years in exchange for research participation.

To sign up visit exp.psy.uq.edu.au/life and complete our online registration form. Alternatively, contact Jess Bartlett on (07) 3103 3395 or email lifestyletriplep@uq.edu.au.

Chief Investigators: Jess Bartlett, Professor Matt Sanders, and Associate Professor Gary Leong
Project Coordinator: Jess Bartlett

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