Impact of an empowerment-based parent education program on the reduction of youth suicide risk factors

Toumbourou, John and Gregg, M. Elizabeth 2002, Impact of an empowerment-based parent education program on the reduction of youth suicide risk factors, Journal of adolescent health, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 277-285, doi: 10.1016/S1054-139X(02)00384-1.

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Title Impact of an empowerment-based parent education program on the reduction of youth suicide risk factors
Author(s) Toumbourou, JohnORCID iD for Toumbourou, John
Gregg, M. Elizabeth
Journal name Journal of adolescent health
Volume number 31
Issue number 3
Start page 277
End page 285
Publisher Elsvier Inc.
Place of publication New York, N.Y.
Publication date 2002-09
ISSN 1054-139x
Keyword(s) suicide
primary prevention
parent-child relations
adolescent behavior
substance use
Summary Purpose: To evaluate the impact of parent education groups on youth suicide risk factors. The potential for informal transmission of intervention impacts within school communities was assessed.

Methods: Parent education groups were offered to volunteers from 14 high schools that were closely matched to 14 comparison schools. The professionally led groups aimed to empower parents to assist one another to improve communication skills and relationships with adolescents. Australian 8th-grade students (aged 14 years) responded to classroom surveys repeated at baseline and after 3 months. Logistic regression was used to test for intervention impacts on adolescent substance use, deliquency, self-harm behavior, and depression. There were no differences between the intervention (n = 305) and comparison (n = 272) samples at baseline on the measures of depression, health behavior, or family relationships.

Results: Students in the intervention schools demonstrated increased maternal care (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.9), reductions in conflict with parents (AOR .5), reduced substance use (AOR .5 to .6), and less delinquency (AOR .2). Parent education group participants were more likely to be sole parents and their children reported higher rates of substance use at baseline. Intervention impacts revealed a dose-response with the largest impacts associated with directly participating parents, but significant impacts were also evident for others in the intervention schools. Where best friend dyads were identified, the best friend’s positive family relationships reduced subsequent substance use among respondents. This and other social contagion processes were posited to explain the transfer of positive impacts beyond the minority of directly participating families.

Conclusions: A whole-school parent education intervention demonstrated promising impacts on a range of risk behaviors and protective factors relevant to youth self-harm and suicide.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/S1054-139X(02)00384-1
Field of Research 111714 Mental Health
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2002, Society for Adolescent Medicine
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Psychology
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