AbstractFamily conflict and poor parenting are generic risk factors associated with a wide variety of adverse developmental outcomes in children including increased risk for conduct problems, drug abuse, delinquency and academic underachievement. This paper makes the case for a multi-level population based approach to the development of parental competence. Evidence is reviewed showing that while parenting interventions based on social learning approaches are effective, they have significant limitations in achieving a level of population reach that will do enough to decrease the prevalence of dysfunctional parenting. A case is made for a contextual approach targeting the media, primary care services, schools, and worksites as basic institutions within the community which can potentially support the task of disseminating more widely evidence-based approaches to parenting intervention. Evidence is reviewed for the efficacy and effectiveness of the Triple P-Positive Parenting Program as a comprehensive, multilevel system of parenting and family intervention. The evidence reviewed shows significant effects across several trials on both child and parent mental health outcomes. Challenges in disseminating empirically supported interventions and possible future directions for family intervention research are discussed.
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