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Publication Detail
When one size doesn't fit all: Temperament-based parenting interventions
Abstract
There is growing recognition of the need for early intervention and prevention work in the field of parenting and child psychopathology. Great strides have been made in the development and broad-scale evaluation of parenting interventions for a variety of childhood mental disorders. However, there are problems with even our current ‘best practice’ parenting interventions including lack of family engagement, failure to achieve clinically significant improvements for a substantial number of families, and difficulty maintaining treatment gains over time. Recently, investigators have drawn on the field of individual differences as a way of answering the question of ‘what works best for whom?’ Researchers are currently exploring how to ‘personalise’ assessment and treatment on the basis of child temperament, an important source of individual differences. This paper will review research and theory demonstrating that the interface between child temperament and parenting has significant implications for the development of child psychopathology and social-emotional skills. This knowledge has informed the selection and assessment of families in early intervention and prevention trials, as well as the nature, content and delivery of parenting interventions. Specifically, temperament-based parenting programmes aim to tailor existing parenting strategies to provide a better ‘fit’ for families on the basis of the child’s temperament profile. Temperament-based parenting interventions are still at an early stage in terms of evaluation, but the evidence to date suggests they are a promising avenue for the treatment of children with a wide range of mental health difficulties.
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