Free study to help children with behaviour problems

Researchers are looking for 56 parents with children aged three to six years old from Wellington and Auckland to take part in the study. The study, partly funded by Victoria University, is being run in both cities.

Triple P Research Group Deputy Director Cassy Dittman, who heads-up the research project, says disruptive behaviour in young children if not dealt with early can in the long term have significant social and human costs.

Research shows that the early onset of behaviour and conduct problems in young children is later in life associated with substance abuse, suicide, mental health problems, ill-health, educational underachievement and poor quality relationships, she says.

“Young children displaying behavioural problems, such as difficulties following instructions and house rules, being defiant, talking back or arguing with adults, or being verbally or physically aggressive with others, typically show deficits in other areas of development. This includes their knowledge and regulation of emotions, and their ability to inhibit, control, and regulate their own behaviour,” says Dr Dittman.

“Behaviour difficulties in young children have been found to have a significant impact on a child’s social functioning and adjustment,” she says.

The study aims to test whether a well-established parenting programme, Group Triple P, has pervasive effects for children on other important developmental skills and areas of functioning, or whether a specifically-tailored adaptation is necessary for improvements to occur.

The parents and their child will be randomly divided into two groups, one will complete the parenting programme, Group Triple P, and the other the new “emotion-enhanced programme” which has an emphasis on strategies and examples to help teach children to manage and regulate their emotions.

The study requires one parent or caregiver to attend five two-hour group sessions, and to complete three 15-minute one-on-one phone consultations. Parents will also be asked to complete a series of questionnaires

The group sessions are to be held at the Triple P research clinic at the Faculty of Education in Epsom and at the Victoria University campus in Wellington.

To volunteer for the research project contact Cassy Dittman on (09) 623 8899 ext 48778 or email [email protected]