Influence of risk factors for child disruptive behavior on parent attendance at a preventive intervention
Although preventive interventions that include both parent and child components produce stronger effects on disruptive behavior than child-only interventions, engaging parents in behavioral parent training is a significant challenge. This study examined the effects of specific risk factors for child disruptive behavior on parent attendance in behavioral parent training. Structural equation modeling was used to test the impact of parenting characteristics, children's social goals, and contextual characteristics on parent attendance in the parent component of the Coping Power preventive intervention, as well as interrelations among these latent variables. The sample included 121 aggressive at-risk fifth-grade children and their parents who were randomly assigned to the intervention condition in a controlled trial. Parenting characteristics were the strongest predictor of parent intervention attendance and were found to mediate the relationship between contextual factors and parent attendance and children's social goals. These analyses support and expand previous findings that parent attendance in behavioral parent training is systematically associated with risk factors for child disruptive behavior and highlight the role of parenting characteristics. Innovative strategies are needed for teaching positive parenting skills to the parents of children at greatest risk.