What Works in Parenting Support: Online Database
Policy Research Bureau

* What Works in Parenting Support? Main report.
* What Works in Parenting Support? Summary report.

* Search the database
* Glossary

* Return to PRB Home Page



This database was designed to accompany a Review published in October 2004 as What Works in Parenting Support? A Review of the International Evidence by Patricia Moran, Deborah Ghate, and Amelia van der Merwe at the Policy Research Bureau. The main text of the Review and an executive summary of key messages can be downloaded from this site using the links on the left, and also from the DfES web site. The database, referred to in the Review as the online grid, contains details of 88 individual evaluation studies of parenting support interventions that informed the conclusions of the Review.

The Review itself was carried out by the Policy Research Bureau on behalf of the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). It examines the international (English language) evidence regarding the effectiveness of parenting support programmes. In the light of research evidence from recent decades linking various aspects of parenting with outcomes for children, many programmes have sprung up aimed at helping parents to enhance their ability to parent, in the hope that outcomes for children may ultimately improve. At the same time, a body of literature documenting the scientific evaluation of parent support programmes has also accumulated, assessing its effectiveness. The publication reviews this growing body of literature. The task involved collating, grading, sorting and summarising parenting support evaluation literature (both published and unpublished) in order to delineate what is known about 'what works' both in the UK and elsewhere, and to distil key messages for policy makers regarding practice, research and overarching national policy. Full information on the design and methodology of the Review and the inclusion and exclusion criteria for studies in the database are given in the main publication and are not repeated here.

In brief, studies that are contained in the database were sorted and are indexed in the database according to the outcomes (i.e., impact) of the interventions they report on. Outcome categories included outcomes for children, outcomes for parents, and outcomes for parent-child relationships. Studies included in the database report on interventions that are designed to address relatively common parenting difficulties, and were generally selected on the basis that they achieved a minimum threshold for methodological rigour (see below, Information provided for each study in the database for details of methodological 'grading' of studies). In the case of interventions that have been extensively studied, up to three 'exemplar' studies were included to represent the main messages of the wider range of studies. In the case of less well-studied interventions, studies may have been included that are rather less rigorous methodologically than the norm.

How to use this database

The purpose of providing the database online is to enable readers to search the database for further detail on the studies that informed the Review. It is not intended to be a comprehensive library of all studies in the field, nor even of the most important studies, and should not be treated as such. We hope that readers seeking information on particular aspects of family support outcomes for children or for parents will be able to use the database to select studies that match their specified areas of interest (for example, to find detail on studies that report outcomes for children's emotions or behaviour; or outcomes for parenting skills etc.)

For each individual study the database provides information about the nature of the intervention, the study's key conclusions with regard to outcomes for parents and children, and its methodology.


For enquiries about The POLICY RESEARCH BUREAU's past work,
email dghate@prb.org.uk.
(c) 2004 Policy Research Bureau and Arches Consulting Ltd
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