Program

Nov 07, 2011

OVERVIEW

The goal of Parent-Education Group for
Families Affected by Depression is to reduce parents’ depressive symptoms,
which, is expected to reduce the negative impact of depression on parenting.
Parents participated in group sessions where they discussed their experiences
with depression, watching videos of difficult parenting situations, learned
about depressive symptoms, and received a homework assignment. In this
evaluation, the experimental group parents showed a significant improvement in
family functioning and experimental group children significantly increased
school functioning. Mildly significant impacts were found for measures of
family conflict, parent conflict, and sense of parenting competence. No
significant impacts were found for parent’s knowledge of depression, parenting
practices, or depressive symptoms. For child outcomes, there were no
significant impacts for competence in sports and arts, participation in sports
and arts, participation in out-of-school activities with adult leadership, peer
relationships, and child depressive symptoms.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:
Parents with depression and their children

Parent-Education
Group for Families Affected by Depression consists of eight weekly two-hour
sessions of parent groups sharing experiences, watching videos of difficult
parenting situations, discussing depression, and receiving a homework
assignment. Sessions are led by trained health service workers. Sessions were
aimed at reducing depression’s negative impact on parenting.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Sanford, M.,
Byrne, C., Williams, S., Atley, S., Ridley, T., Miller, J., & Allin, H. (2003).
A pilot study of a parent-education group for families affected by depression.
Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 48(2), 78-86.

Evaluated population:
44 parents with a child aged 6 to 13 were
recruited from adult psychiatry services and family doctors in
Hamilton-Wentworth, Ontario, Canada. Parents in the study had a clinical
diagnosis of major depressive disorder in the previous 12 months and were
currently under medical care for depression. The mean age of parents was 41 and
the mean age of the child was 10. Thirty-three percent of parents were single.

Approach:
Parents in the study were randomly assigned to an experimental parent group or a
wait-list control group. The experimental group treatment was designed to
increase knowledge of depression and its impact on their family, spousal
support, positive communication, and positive parenting strategies. This was
done through social-learning theory, parent-education theory, and family-systems
theory. Eight to twelve parent participants (alone or with a family member)
attended eight weekly two-hour sessions. The sessions included socialization
with others, a review of the previous session, sharing of information, watching
videos of difficult parenting situations, a summary, and a homework assignment.
Each session had a specific focus regarding elements of parental depression and
parenting. The sessions were led by health service workers who received two
half-days of training on adherence to the manual.

Outcomes measured
at pre- and post-test and at a three-month follow-up were knowledge of
depression, parenting practices, sense of parenting competence, family
relationships and functioning, and depressive symptoms. Child outcomes measured
were competence in sports and arts, participation in sports and arts,
participation in out-of-school activities with adult leadership, school
functioning, peer relationships, and child depressive symptoms.

Results:27
percent of the sample did not complete the post-test, so results are based on 32
cases.At post-test, the experimental group showed a significant
difference in family functioning when compared with the control group (effect
size = 0.6). Comparing the two groups, on the measures of family conflict,
parent conflict, sense of parenting competence were borderline significant.
There were no significant impacts, however, on knowledge of depression,
parenting practices, or depressive symptoms.

Among the children
of parents in the evaluation, only school functioning showed a significant
difference between experimental and control groups. Competence in sports and
arts, participation in sports and arts, participation in out-of-school
activities with adult leadership, peer relationships, and child depressive
symptoms showed no significant differences between groups.

Three-month
follow-up analyses were not reported because, by this time, 43 percent of the
sample had dropped out. The authors note that attrition was higher among more
depressed participants in the treatment group, a difference that could raise the
probability of finding positive impacts.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

Sanford, M., Byrne,
C., Williams, S., Atley, S., Ridley, T., Miller, J., & Allin, H. (2003). A pilot
study of a parent-education group for families affected by depression. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 48(2), 78-86.

Contact
information:

Dr. M. Sanford

Child Psychiatry
Program

Centre for
Addiction and Mental Health

250 College Street

Toronto, ON, Canada
M5T 1R8

KEYWORDS:
Middle Childhood (6-11), Clinic-based, Children (3-11), Adolescents (12-17), Co-ed, Parent Training/Education, Parent or Family Component,
Depression, School Engagement, Social/Emotional Health

Program
information last updated 11/7/11