A systematic review of technology-assisted parenting programs for mental health problems in youth aged 0–18 years: Applicability to underserved Australian communities

Ashlyn Hansen, Grace Broomfield, Marie B. H. Yap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Youth mental health problems have been identified as a major public health concern. However, there are a number of parent populations that remain under-engaged with face-to-face parenting programs, which include fathers, and parents of lower socioeconomic position and rural location. This review aimed to evaluate the evidence for technology-assisted parenting programs for youth mental health and parenting outcomes; as well as the extent to which they engage underserved parent populations and how they can be better tailored for these groups in an Australian context. Methods: Employing the PRISMA method, we conducted a systematic review of randomised controlled trials of technology-assisted parenting programs for youth mental health problems. Results: We identified 47 articles that met inclusion criteria, consisting of 25 randomised controlled trials along with 8 and 14 articles describing intervention development and follow-up, respectively. Some evidence was found to support the use of technology-assisted parenting programs, particularly to improve externalising problems and parenting skills. Additionally, program development and recruitment strategies to engage underserved parents were under-utilised among studies reviewed. Conclusions: Findings from this review indicate that technology-assisted parenting programs may present an effective alternative to traditional face-to-face programs. However, more comprehensive and evidence-based strategies are required for program development and recruitment to capitalise on the advantages of technology-assisted programs to enhance engagement with underserved parent populations. Further research should investigate program attributes and engagement strategies for diverse parent populations.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages31
JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Australia
  • mental health
  • parenting
  • systematic literature review
  • technology-assisted
  • young people

Cite this

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title = "A systematic review of technology-assisted parenting programs for mental health problems in youth aged 0–18 years: Applicability to underserved Australian communities",
abstract = "Objective: Youth mental health problems have been identified as a major public health concern. However, there are a number of parent populations that remain under-engaged with face-to-face parenting programs, which include fathers, and parents of lower socioeconomic position and rural location. This review aimed to evaluate the evidence for technology-assisted parenting programs for youth mental health and parenting outcomes; as well as the extent to which they engage underserved parent populations and how they can be better tailored for these groups in an Australian context. Methods: Employing the PRISMA method, we conducted a systematic review of randomised controlled trials of technology-assisted parenting programs for youth mental health problems. Results: We identified 47 articles that met inclusion criteria, consisting of 25 randomised controlled trials along with 8 and 14 articles describing intervention development and follow-up, respectively. Some evidence was found to support the use of technology-assisted parenting programs, particularly to improve externalising problems and parenting skills. Additionally, program development and recruitment strategies to engage underserved parents were under-utilised among studies reviewed. Conclusions: Findings from this review indicate that technology-assisted parenting programs may present an effective alternative to traditional face-to-face programs. However, more comprehensive and evidence-based strategies are required for program development and recruitment to capitalise on the advantages of technology-assisted programs to enhance engagement with underserved parent populations. Further research should investigate program attributes and engagement strategies for diverse parent populations.",
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