Effectiveness of a multiple family group intervention in reducing stress in parents of juvenile first offenders
Caldwell, Christopher Les
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This study investigated the extent to which parental stress was reduced by a participation in a multiple group family intervention developed to reduce recidivism among juvenile offenders. The problems, major challenges and tremendous costs of juvenile delinquency to communities, families and youth were reviewed. Parenting practices were presented as leading factors influencing juvenile delinquency and the research on stress experienced by parents of children with behavioral problems was discussed. Parental stress was proposed as one of the more robust constructs related to parenting practices and child behavior disturbance. Multiple family intervention was examined to determine whether parental stress could be reduced. Results indicated that parent stress was reduced by participation in multiple family group intervention in similar populations such as with parents of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disordered children, disabilities, and behavior problems. Parent stress reduction, shown to correlate with improved parental functioning, was demonstrated as a viable measure of treatment outcome in the literature. It was found that parent stress was effectively reduced by completion of a multiple family group intervention program. In addition, this study examined parent stress in parents of juvenile first offenders regarding parent gender, ethnicity, single versus two-parent households, family functioning, parent-adolescent communication, dropout rates, and intervention benefit change at follow-up. Parents of the present sample reported greater levels of parent stress than non-clinical parents and were not significantly different from parents of children with emotional or behavioral problems. Parental stress did diminish in response to intervention, but not until one- month follow-up to intervention completion. Though there was attrition in the study, no differences were found on initial parent stress level between completers and non-completers of the intervention. No significant differences were found in this study regarding parent stress and gender or ethnicity of the parent; however, single parenting was associated with significantly higher levels of parent stress. Family functioning was significantly negatively correlated with parental stress. Finally, open communication between juvenile first offenders and their parents improved significantly in response to the intervention both at post-intervention and at follow-up.
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