Mhealth app to help parents control children
July 18, 2017
Researchers at Wayne State University in Michigan are developing an mhealth app that can help parents deal with unruly children. They have received a four-year, $533,151 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to develop the technology-based parent-training programme.
There are a number of effective training programmes for parents of children who have disruptive behaviour disorders. However, the reach of these programmes is limited due to lack of access and limited parental motivation. The research aims to address this issue by developing technology that can be accessed in primary care facilities and online.
The team of researchers, led by Kathleen “Lucy” McGoron, assistant professor of research in the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute at Wayne State University, will develop a mhealth parenting system, called the Parenting Young Children Check-up, which will be delivered in health care settings. The system will assess children for disruptive behaviour problems, provide a motivational intervention and connect parents with a training web site.
According to McGoron, this project will facilitate the creation and evaluation of a system that could expand the reach of parent training of young children with disruptive behaviour problems.
“Young children with disruptive behaviour problems often require specialised parenting skills in order to flourish,” said McGoron. “While these skills can be effectively taught in face-to-face parent-training programmes, most families in need of such services do not receive them due to lack of access or desire.”
With the growth of internet access – a common mode of obtaining parenting information – the Wayne State research team aim to create a programme that can reach parents in a variety of settings, ultimately encouraging them to use a research-informed parent-training system.
“If parents use this training programme and adopt the skills the programme teaches, we think it will be beneficial to them and their children by reducing stress, enhancing parent-child relationships, and leading children to gain skills that will help in social situations and school,” said McGoron