In this section
Behaviour and emotional problems affect one in seven Australian children. These problems include aggression, hyperactivity, disobedience, anxiety, social withdrawal and depression. Up to 50% of preschool children's problems continue through the childhood years.
In 2002-05, theToddlers without
Tears (TWT) program aimed to stop children from developing
behaviour and emotional problems using a brief group parenting
program. Families in Mind combines this brief program with
a targeted intervention to examine whether combining the two
programs is more effective than one program alone. Families in Mind has been designed by child
doctors, child psychologists and maternal and child health
nurses. It is a three-arm randomised cluster
controlled trial comparing the following arms:
Families in Mind is suitable for all families with young children, and uses parenting handouts, group discussion, and video examples.
Recruitment began in August 2010 in nine local government areas in Melbourne: Bayside, Casey, Darebin, Hobsons Bay, Knox, Manningham, Mornington Peninsula, Port Phillip and Yarra Ranges.
Recruitment finished in early 2011.
From December 2010 to April 2011, all families were sent a questionnaire when their child was 12 months old and a newsletter update of the study's progress.
During April 2011- April 2012, parents randomly allocated to the Combined group were invited to three group parenting sessions in their local government area. These sessions were co-facilitated by the maternal and child health nurses and parenting experts from the
Parenting Research Centre (PRC). Groups focussed on forming positive parent-child relationships, encouraging good behaviour, managing child misbehaviour, child anxiety and distress. Families who were unable to attend were mailed the handouts and were offered
a phone call with a clinician to discuss the session content.
From December 2011 to April 2012, all families involved in the study were sent a 2 year old Questionnaire. We received 88% of these back.
From March 2012 until the end of 2012, some families in the Combined and Targeted arms are offered the 'the Family Check-up' one-on-one support program. This program is offered to parents who report in the 2 year old questionnaire that their toddler is having
challenging behaviours. The program involves up to 6 individual sessions from a trained parent consultant. The content of each session is tailored to each family and offers a range of child and family interventions. 97 families chose to take up the program.
Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victorian Department of Health, Deakin University, Municipal Association of Victoria
2010 - 2015
NHMRC Partnership Grant #: 546525
Hiscock H, Bayer JK, Lycett K, Ukoumunne OC, Shaw D, Gold L, Gerner B, Loughman A, Wake M. Preventing mental health problems in children: The Families in Mind population-based cluster randomised controlled trial. BMC Public Health 2012, 12:420 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-420.
The electronic version of this article can be found online at:
The Centre for Community Child Health is a department of The Royal Children’s Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.