Child behaviour problems are relatively common and can have serious consequences for children, their families, and schools. Although we have effective interventions to help parents address their child’s behaviour, only a small fraction of parents engage in them. Providing interventions online instead of in-person increases initial engagement, such as enrolling in an online intervention, but increases drop-outs. This suggests that many parents have very good intentions and want to start an intervention, but encounter a variety of challenges in carrying through until the end of the intervention.
To help the greatest number of Australian families, we need to solve the ‘drop-out’ problem. Action Planning (AP) is a powerful way to increase our engagement in a diverse range of health behaviours, such as cancer screening, exercise, and healthy eating. AP is thought to work by closing the gap between intentions and health behaviour: AP provides people with explicit cues to perform a behaviour – including when, where, and how they will achieve their goal. Given the good intentions but busy lives of modern-day Australian parents, AP holds particular promise to engage parents in interventions.
For the first time, this project will test if providing parents with Action Plans increases their completion of an online intervention for their child’s behaviour problems relative to providing them only with information about the information.
Co-Investigators: Alina Morawska & Matthew Sanders