THE ROLE OF PARENT AL SOCIAL SUPPORT NETWORK IN THE OUTCOME OF THE INCREDIBLE YEARS PARENT TRAINING PROGRAM
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Externalizing behavior problems have a grave impact on children and their environment. Untreated, the prognosis on the short term as well as the long term are poor. To treat behavior problems in young children, targeting parents is most effective. An effective intervention for reducing behavior problems in children (aged 3-8 years old) is the Incredible Years (IY) parent training program. The current research is part of a larger scale project, including 101 participants. The current study examines the impact of the parental social support network on the effectiveness of the IY program in decreasing behavior problems. The study aims to examine (1) the relationship between the pre-treatment parental social network and the decrease in behavior problems, (2) whether there is change in the parental social network and/or behavior problems during the course of the training, and (3) if a change (increase) in parental social network is related to a change (decrease) in behavior problems. Pre-treatment and posttreatment measurements of behavior problems and parental social network are obtained through questionnaires and compared for 53 participating parent-child pairs. The statistical analysis of the data did not result in any significant outcomes for the main research questions. Parents reported gains with regard to their children’s behavior but did not report significant improvement in their social networks. Explorative analysis resulted in a number of noteworthy outcomes. The parental social support network did not increase significantly from pre- to posttreatment, which makes it difficult to validly research its role in the effectiveness of the IY program. All in all, the current study does not provide evidence that the parental social network and improving affects the effectiveness of the IY program.