New Findings on How Parents Engage with Online Intervention Programs

A recent project funded by the Australian Rotary Health has explored how to better provide online interventions to parents of children with behaviour problems.

Only a third of parents experiencing child behaviour problems will engage in interventions to support their child, and of those who engage, over half will drop out before the intervention ends. Child behaviour problems, such as defiance and aggression, are relatively common and can lead to serious consequences for the children themselves and their families.

Online parenting intervention and prevention programs are cost-effective treatments proven to result in long-lasting improvements for children with behaviour problems.

Associate Professor, Dr. Jeneva Ohan, from the University of Western Australia received a mental health research grant between 2020 and 2021 to research how to create better ways in engaging parents in these existing interventions. Particularly, Dr. Ohan conducted the research by introducing a method of action planning for these parents and analysing their engagement.

Action planning and helping planning are simple processes in which parents can support their own personal goals and outcomes in enrolling and completing the online interventions. This method acts to better encourage and support parents who may need to acknowledge how and when they will complete the program.

Dr. Ohan and her team offered parents who had a child with behaviour problems the opportunity to try an online parenting program; half of the parents were asked to complete action plans and the other half were not. The outcome showed little difference of parents completing their programs between the two groups.

Though making action plans did not necessarily engage parents in completing their program, parents who made detailed action plans about doing their program were more likely to enrol and start the program compared to parents who did not.

“It’s hard to complete a self-guided online parenting program on your own,” said Dr. Ohan. “Putting aside time each week as a busy parent is tough to do and easy to forget!

“If you’re having trouble getting started, try making a detailed plan about when, where, and how to get an online parenting program done. It might just give the help you need to enrol and get started.”

Check out our Podcast Episode with Dr. Ohan speaking more about her project here.


Media contact: Alexander Galati –

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