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Effective Intervention Programming: Improving Maternal Adjustment Through Parent Education

Parent education delivered through in-person and web-based classes was helpful for mothers of toddlers, whether or not they reported behavior problems.

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  • N: 99
  • Subject Ages: 2 to 3 years
  • Location: United States, a suburban area in the Midwestern region
  • SES: Overall, these demographics indicated that the present sample represented a low-risk group of mothers and their toddlers
  • Eligibility: Mother had at least one child between the ages of 2 and 3 years
  • Additional: 
    • On average, participants were 30.74 years of age
    • 81.6% European-American, 10.7% African-American, 4.9% Asian-American, 4.1% Latina (numbers add to more than 100% because some participants were multiracial)
    • 71.4% married and 93.8% reported that their target child’s father was part of his/her life 


  1. The intervention, consisting of 12 face-to-face parent education sessions in a university setting or online sessions combined with booklets, would improve maternal socioemotional well-being, but improvements would be most substantial when the booklet was supplemented with face-to-face or web-based components.
  2. Effects would be at least partially dependent on the mothers’ perceptions of their toddler’s behavior problems. 

Variables Measured, Instruments Used

  • Maternal socioemotional adjustment - The Symptoms Checklist-90-R (SCL-90-R)
  • Children’s behavior problems - the Brief Infant Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (BITSEA; Briggs-Gowan, et al. 2004)




  1. All levels of intervention were associated with increases in maternal well-being for participants with typically developing children.
  2. Mothers of toddlers with behavior problems, however, did not benefit from receiving only the booklet but significantly benefitted from receiving either the face-to-face or web-based interventions. 


  • Maternal reports were used as the sole source of mothers’ and toddlers’ adjustment.
  • Did not include assessments of actual parenting behaviors or other potential mediational variables (e.g., parental involvement with pro-social others or supportive activities; Burstein, et al. 2006)
  • The limited sample size restricted statistical power, and therefore there was no control for the effects of all possible factors (e.g., race, gender of child, rather involvement) that may have been indirectly related to socioemotional adjustment and parenting.
  • Use of a single facilitator for in-person groups and no formal record of fidelity checks