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Parent Management Training

Parent Management Training (PMT) is a group of theory-based training interventions aimed at reducing antisocial and behavior problems in children by providing parents with family management strategies and parenting skills. This program, which can be delivered in groups or with one individual family, varies in length depending on the clients' needs, with sessions occurring at least a week apart to allow for sufficient learning and skill practice. PMT is delivered by a licensed therapist and can be implemented in a variety of family contexts (e.g. two-parent, single-parents, re-partnered, grandparent and foster) and in diverse settings (e.g., schools, clinics, homes). Families with children aged 4-12 that deal with or are at risk for anti-social behavior, conduct problems, theft, delinquency, substance abuse and child abuse or neglect are often the target population.

With a theoretical foundation in Social Interaction Learning, PMT includes topics such as skill encouragement, limit setting, positive disciple, monitoring, problem solving and positive involvement. The program also coaches parents on emotion identification and regulation, communication enhancement, behavior tracking and school success promotion.

PMT has been widely studied using experimental designs with extensive follow-up in several countries and with a variety of study populations. These studies have shown reductions in coercive parenting, negative reinforcement, child noncompliance and juvenile delinquency. Additionally, PMT participants saw an increase in positive and effective parenting practices, adaptive functioning and social competence. Multi-year follow-up also showed increases in income, reductions in maternal depression and mediating influences on other parent and child outcomes.

Because of the diverse nature of the treatments provided and targeted populations in the various evaluations, the Blueprints advisory board conducted their own meta-analysis using only the highest-quality studies. Blueprints selected eight articles from three studies which used considerably different samples, listing 72 coefficients for seven child outcomes. Results from the meta-analysis concluded that PMT is an effective intervention across multiple outcomes: .11 for total problems, .15 for arrests, .15 for substance use, .20 for deviant peers, .21 for delinquency, .22 for externalizing, and .24 for internalizing.

While traditionally delivered in-person, a recent study has looked at PMT implementations that are technology-based. These newer options, which include online sessions and video-conferencing, reduce direct interaction between the clients and the therapist. While this study has found these methods of delivery do not compromise the program's effectiveness, it has not yet met Blueprints criteria.

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Return to Blueprints Bulletin Issue 3. July 2017.

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