•  

Intervention Summary

Back to Results Start New Search

[Read FAQ to Learn More]

Incredible Years

Incredible Years is a set of three interlocking, comprehensive, and developmentally based training programs for children and their parents and teachers. These programs are guided by developmental theory on the role of multiple interacting risk and protective factors in the development of conduct problems. The three programs are designed to work jointly to promote emotional and social competence and to prevent, reduce, and treat behavioral and emotional problems in young children, as follows:

  • The Incredible Years child program. The Dinosaur School child training prevention program consists of more than 60 classroom lesson plans (approximately 45 minutes each) for three age levels, beginning in preschool through second grade (3-8 years). Lesson plans are delivered by the teacher at least twice weekly over consecutive years. The small group treatment program consists of 18-22 weekly sessions (2 hours each) offered in conjunction with the training programs for parents of preschoolers or school-age children. The child program aims to strengthen children's social and emotional competencies, such as understanding and communicating feelings, using effective problem-solving strategies, managing anger, practicing friendship and conversational skills, and behaving appropriately in the classroom.
  • The Incredible Years parent programs. Three training programs are available for parents of babies and toddlers (up to 30 months), preschoolers (3-5 years), and school-age children (6-12 years). The lengths of the parent programs vary from 12 to 20 weekly group sessions (2-3 hours each). The programs focus on strengthening parent-child interactions and relationships, reducing harsh discipline, and fostering parents' ability to promote children's social, emotional, and language development. In the programs for parents of preschoolers and school-age children, participants also learn how to promote school readiness skills; in addition, these parents are encouraged to partner with teachers and become involved in their children's school experiences to promote children's academic, social skills, and emotional self-regulation and to reduce conduct problems. Each program includes protocols for use as a prevention program or as a treatment program for children with conduct problems and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
  • The Incredible Years teacher program. The teacher training program is delivered to early childhood and elementary school teachers of young children (3-8 years) and consists of 42 hours (6 days) of monthly workshops delivered by a trained facilitator. The program focuses on strengthening teachers' classroom management strategies; promoting children's prosocial behavior, emotional self-regulation, and school readiness; and reducing children's classroom aggression and noncooperation with peers and teachers. The training also helps teachers collaborate with parents to support parents' school involvement and promote consistency between home and school.

In each program, trained facilitators use videotaped vignettes to structure the content and stimulate group discussions, problem solving, and practices related to participants' goals.

Descriptive Information

Areas of Interest Mental health promotion
Mental health treatment
Outcomes Review Date: July 2012
1: Parenting skills
2: Child externalizing problems
3: Child emotional literacy, self-regulation, and social competence
4: Teacher classroom management skills
5: Parents' involvement with the school and teachers

Review Date: August 2007
1: Positive and nurturing parenting
2: Harsh, coercive, and negative parenting
3: Child behavior problems
4: Child positive behaviors, social competence, and school readiness skills
5: Parent bonding and involvement with teacher and school
6: Teacher classroom management skills
Outcome Categories Education
Family/relationships
Mental health
Social functioning
Violence
Ages 0-5 (Early childhood)
6-12 (Childhood)
18-25 (Young adult)
26-55 (Adult)
Genders Male
Female
Races/Ethnicities American Indian or Alaska Native
Asian
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino
White
Race/ethnicity unspecified
Settings Outpatient
Home
School
Other community settings
Geographic Locations Urban
Suburban
Implementation History Since 1987, Incredible Years has been used at hundreds of sites in 36 States and in Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, Sweden, Turkey, and Wales. Incredible Years research staff members have trained more than 30,000 professionals worldwide. Detailed information for both U.S. and non-U.S. evaluation studies are available at http://incredibleyears.com/for-researchers/evaluation/, and examples of agencies' use of Incredible Years are available at http://incredibleyears.com/programs/implementation/implementation-examples/.
NIH Funding/CER Studies Partially/fully funded by National Institutes of Health: Yes
Evaluated in comparative effectiveness research studies: Yes
Adaptations Incredible Years program materials (e.g., manuals, DVDs, parent books) have been translated into Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.
Adverse Effects No adverse effects, concerns, or unintended consequences were identified by the developer.
IOM Prevention Categories Selective
Indicated

Quality of Research
Review Date: July 2012

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

Webster-Stratton, C. H., Reid, M. J., & Beauchaine, T. (2011). Combining parent and child training for young children with ADHD. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 40(2), 191-203.  Pub Med icon

Study 2

Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, M. J., & Stoolmiller, M. (2008). Preventing conduct problems and improving school readiness: Evaluation of the Incredible Years teacher and child training programs in high-risk schools. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49(5), 471-488.  Pub Med icon

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Parenting skills
Description of Measures Parenting skills were assessed using two measures:

  • The Parenting Practices Inventory (PPI). The PPI is a 67-item questionnaire addressing parents' style and consistency of interaction with their children. Parents rated themselves on each item of a 4-point scale ranging from "never" to "often," and summary scores were created for appropriate discipline; praise and incentives; monitoring; harsh and inconsistent discipline; and physical punishment. Higher scores indicate better parenting skills.
  • The Dyadic Parent-Child Interaction Coding System (DPICS). The DPICS is a structured method for experts to record their observations of parent-child interactions. Experts assessed parent-child interactions during play and task (e.g., cleanup) periods. Three parent constructs, which incorporated multiple items, were used: praise, critical statements, and coaching. Higher scores indicate better parenting skills.
Key Findings A study was conducted with families with 4- to 6-year-old children who had a diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder. Families were randomly assigned to the intervention group, which received 20 weekly sessions of Incredible Years, or the wait-list control group. From pre- to posttest, compared with mothers in the control group, those in the intervention group had greater improvements in the PPI summary scores for appropriate discipline (p < .01), monitoring (p < .001), harsh and inconsistent discipline (p < .01), and physical punishment (p < .01); no significant between-group differences were found for fathers. Also from pre- to posttest, compared with parents in the control group, those in the intervention group had greater improvements in the DPICS constructs of praise (p < .001) and coaching (p < .001) during play periods and critical statements (p < .05) during task periods.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.7 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Child externalizing problems
Description of Measures Child externalizing problems were assessed using the following measures:

  • The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and the Teacher Reporting Form (TRF), a modified version of the CBCL. The CBCL was completed by parents, and the TRF was completed by teachers. The CBCL and the TRF are 120-item questionnaires, with items scored on a 3-point scale ranging from 0 (not true) to 2 (very true or often true). Responses to a subset of items were summed to form a subscale score for externalizing behavior (e.g., expression of anger through violent words and gestures). Higher scores indicate greater externalizing.
  • The Conners' Parent Rating Scale-Revised (CPRS-R). The CPRS-R is a 57-item questionnaire that records parents' own assessments of their children's behavior as it relates to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and related forms of psychopathology. Three subscales were used: hyperactivity, inattention/cognitive problems, and oppositional behaviors. Higher scores indicate a greater number or intensity of problems in the subscale items.
  • The Dyadic Parent-Child Interaction Coding System (DPICS). The DPICS is a structured method for experts to record their observations of parent-child interactions. Experts assessed parent-child interactions during play and task (e.g., cleanup) periods. Two child constructs, which incorporated multiple items, were used: child deviance (e.g., whining, physical negativity, destructiveness, noncompliance) and child positives (e.g., verbal and nonverbal affect, physical warmth). Higher scores indicate greater expression of behaviors and traits.
Key Findings A study was conducted with families with 4- to 6-year-old children who had a diagnosis of ADHD or ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder. Families were randomly assigned to the intervention group, which received 20 weekly sessions of Incredible Years, or the wait-list control group. Findings included the following:

  • From pre- to posttest, compared with children in the control group, those in the intervention group had greater reductions in externalizing behavior as indicated by the results from the parent-completed CBCL (p < .05, mothers; p < .05, fathers) and the teacher-completed TRF (p < .05).
  • From pre- to posttest, as indicated by results from the parent-completed CPRS-R, children in the intervention group had greater reductions in hyperactivity (p < .01, mothers; p < .05, fathers), inattention/cognitive problems (p < .01, mothers; p < .05, fathers), and oppositional behaviors (p < .001, mothers; p < .05, fathers) relative to children in the control group; fathers of children in the control group reported small increases in all three behaviors.
  • From pre- to posttest, as indicated by trained observers using the DPICS, mother-child pairs in the intervention group had a reduction in child deviance, and mother-child pairs in the control group had no change (p < .05).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.8 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 3: Child emotional literacy, self-regulation, and social competence
Description of Measures Child emotional literacy, self-regulation, and social competence were assessed with the following measures:

  • The Social Competence Scale-Parent Report (SCS-PR). The SCS-PR is a 12-item questionnaire that records parents' assessments of their children's positive social behaviors (e.g., resolves peer problems, understands others, shares) and emotional regulation (e.g., copes with failure, thinks before acting). Parents rated each item using a 5-point scale ranging from "not at all" to "very well." Higher scores indicate better social competence.
  • The Coder Observation of Classroom Adaptation-Revised (COCA-R). The COCA-R contains 26 items related to positive (e.g., concentration, controls temper, helping others) and negative (e.g., aggression, teasing) traits. Trained coders completed the scale while observing children in the classroom for a 30-minute period. An overall school readiness score was created, and groups of individual items were summed to produce three subscales: cognitive concentration, acceptance of authority, and social contact. Lower scores indicate better social competence.
  • The Wally Problem-Solving test (WPS), which assesses children's social problem-solving skills. The WPS was developed for use in the study, and study personnel administered the WPS to children, who were asked what they would do in each of 14 hypothetical conflict situations (e.g., "You ask a friend to play with you and she says no. What do you do?" and "You and your sister both want a cookie but there is only one. What do you do?"). A summary score was used to indicate the ratio of positive to negative strategies, with higher scores indicating greater positive coping resources.
  • The Wally Feelings test (WF), which assesses children's emotional literacy. The WF was developed for use in the study, and study personnel administered the WF to children, who were shown eight pictures of other children in positive and negative situations and asked how the other children pictured would feel. The greater the number of descriptive words used by the child, the greater his or her emotional literacy.
  • The Multiple Option Observation System for Experimental Studies (MOOSES). The MOOSES was used in a revised form intended for situations involving small children. Trained coders recorded specific child behaviors in real time during classroom observation. The following behavior groups were coded: child behavior problems, child disengagement, peer involvement, child solitary play, positive interactions with the teacher, and positive interactions with peers. Higher scores indicate greater frequency of a desirable or undesirable behavior.
Key Findings A study was conducted with families with 4- to 6-year-old children who had a diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder. Families were randomly assigned to the intervention group, which received 20 weekly sessions of Incredible Years, or the wait-list control group. Findings included the following:

  • From pre- to posttest, as indicated by results from the parent-completed SCS-PR, children in the intervention group had greater improvements in positive social behaviors (p < .001, mothers; fathers, p < .01) and emotional regulation (p < .001, mothers; p < .001, fathers) relative to children in the control group.
  • From pre- to posttest, as indicated by results from the COCA-R, children in the intervention group had greater improvements in social contact skills (p < .01) relative to children in the control group.
  • From pre- to posttest, as indicated by results from the WPS and the WF, children in the intervention group had greater gains in positive coping resources (p < .05) and emotional literacy (p < .01), respectively, relative to children in the control group, who showed minimal or no change in either measure.
Another study was conducted with families with children in Head Start, kindergarten, or first grade. Matched pairs of schools were randomly assigned to the intervention condition, in which Incredible Years was delivered from November to April, or the control condition, in which children received the regular classroom curriculum. Findings included the following:

  • From pre- to posttest, as indicated by results from the COCA-R, children in the intervention group had greater improvement in school readiness (p = .04) relative to children in the control group.
  • From pre- to posttest, as indicated by results from the WPS and the WF, children in the intervention group had greater gains in positive coping resources (p < .01) and emotional literacy (p < .01), respectively, relative to children in the control group.
  • From pre- to posttest, as indicated by results from the MOOSES, among children who had higher levels of preintervention conduct problems, those in the intervention group had greater reductions in behavior problems (p < .05) and disengagement (p < .01) relative to those in the control group.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.5 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 4: Teacher classroom management skills
Description of Measures Teacher classroom management skills were assessed with two measures:

  • The Teacher Coder Impressions Inventory (TCI). The TCI is a 71-item questionnaire developed for use in the study. Using a 10-point Likert-style scale, a trained coder scored each item after two 30-minute periods of classroom observation. Individual items were grouped as five behavior styles: warm/affectionate, social/emotional, effective discipline, harsh/critical, and inconsistent/permissive. Higher scores indicate greater expression of a behavior style, which reflects the teacher's skill in reading and reacting to classroom conditions.
  • The Multiple Option Observation System for Experimental Studies (MOOSES). The MOOSES was used in a revised form intended for situations involving small children. Trained coders recorded specific teacher behaviors in real time during classroom observation. The following behavior groups were coded: positive reinforcement, critical statements, and amount of interaction with students. Higher scores indicate greater frequency of a behavior, which reflects the teacher's skill in reading and reacting to classroom conditions.
Key Findings A study was conducted with families with children in Head Start, kindergarten, or first grade. Matched pairs of schools were randomly assigned to the intervention condition, in which Incredible Years was delivered from November to April, or the control condition, in which children received the regular classroom curriculum. From pre- to posttest, teachers in the intervention classrooms had greater expression of positive styles and reduced expression of negative styles relative to teachers in control classrooms, as indicated by results from the behavior styles assessed by the TCI: warm/affectionate (p < .05), social/emotional (p < .001), effective discipline (p < .05), harsh/critical (p < .01), and inconsistent/permissive (p < .05). Also from pre- to posttest, as indicated by results from the MOOSES, teachers in the intervention classrooms used fewer critical statements relative to teachers in control classrooms (p < .01).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 2
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.3 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 5: Parents' involvement with the school and teachers
Description of Measures Parents' involvement with the school and teachers was assessed using the Teacher-Parent Involvement Questionnaire (INVOLVE-T), a 20-item questionnaire adapted for use in classrooms with small children. Using the INVOLVE-T, teachers assessed items composing three subscales: teacher bonding with parent, parent involvement in education, and parent involvement with school/teacher. Higher scores indicate greater involvement by parents with the school and teachers.
Key Findings A study was conducted with families with children in Head Start, kindergarten, or first grade. Matched pairs of schools were randomly assigned to the intervention condition, in which Incredible Years was delivered from November to April, or the control condition, in which children received the regular classroom curriculum. From pre- to posttest, parents and teachers of children in the intervention group had greater improvements in bonding relative to parents and teachers of children in the control group (p < .001).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 2
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.2 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 0-5 (Early childhood)
6-12 (Childhood)
18-25 (Young adult)
26-55 (Adult)
76% Male
24% Female
73% White
27% Race/ethnicity unspecified
Study 2 0-5 (Early childhood)
6-12 (Childhood)
18-25 (Young adult)
26-55 (Adult)
50% Female
50% Male
27% White
26% Black or African American
20% Asian
18% Hispanic or Latino
9% Race/ethnicity unspecified

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Parenting skills 3.3 3.3 4.0 3.5 4.0 4.0 3.7
2: Child externalizing problems 3.5 3.5 4.0 3.5 4.0 4.0 3.8
3: Child emotional literacy, self-regulation, and social competence 3.0 3.0 4.0 3.3 3.6 3.9 3.5
4: Teacher classroom management skills 3.0 2.8 4.0 3.0 3.3 3.8 3.3
5: Parents' involvement with the school and teachers 2.8 2.8 4.0 3.0 2.8 3.8 3.2

Study Strengths

The instruments used in both studies have strong psychometric properties, as documented by the study investigators. Good mechanisms to ensure intervention fidelity were used in both studies, and data were presented to indicate evidence of the mechanisms' effectiveness. Study design and analysis elements controlled for many important confounding factors. The studies' analysis plans were well designed and executed.

Study Weaknesses

It is not clear whether the instruments' psychometric properties have been validated independently in groups similar to those participating in these studies. Both studies had missing data. The use of a wait-list control design in one study may have introduced additional potential bias, given the many competing options available to the parents of study participants.

Review Date: August 2007

Documents Reviewed

The documents below were reviewed for Quality of Research. The research point of contact can provide information regarding the studies reviewed and the availability of additional materials, including those from more recent studies that may have been conducted.

Study 1

Webster-Stratton, C. (1994). Advancing videotape parent training: A comparison study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62(3), 583-593.  Pub Med icon

Study 2

Webster-Stratton, C., & Hammond, M. (1997). Treating children with early-onset conduct problems: A comparison of child and parenting training interventions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65(1), 93-109.  Pub Med icon

Study 3

Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, M. J., & Hammond, M. (2001). Preventing conduct problems, promoting social competence: A parent and teacher training partnership in Head Start. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 30(3), 283-302.  Pub Med icon

Study 4

Reid, M. J., Webster-Stratton, C., & Hammond, M. (2003). Follow-up of children who received the Incredible Years intervention for oppositional-defiant disorder: Maintenance and prediction of 2-year outcome. Behavior Therapy, 34, 471-491.

Webster-Stratton, C., Reid, M. J., & Hammond, M. (2004). Treating children with early onset conduct problems: Intervention outcomes for parent, child, and teacher training. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33(1), 105-124.  Pub Med icon

Study 5

Reid, M. J., Webster-Stratton, C., & Baydar, N. (2004). Halting the development of conduct problems in Head Start children: The effects of parent training. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33(2), 279-291.  Pub Med icon

Study 6

Reid, M. J., Webster-Stratton, C., & Hammond, M. (2007). Enhancing a classroom social competence and problem-solving curriculum by offering parent training to families of moderate- to high-risk elementary school children. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 36(4), 605-620.  Pub Med icon

Supplementary Materials

Beauchaine, T. P., Webster-Stratton, C., & Reid, M. J. (2005). Mediators, moderators, and predictors of 1-year outcomes among children treated for early-onset conduct problems: A latent growth curve analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73(3), 371-388.  Pub Med icon

RAND Corporation. (2006). Incredible Years. Retrieved August 2007 from the Promising Practices Network Web site: http://www.promisingpractices.net/program.asp?programid=134

Scott, S., Spender, Q., Doolan, M., Jacobs, B., & Aspland, H. (2001). Multicentre controlled trial of parenting groups for childhood antisocial behaviour in clinical practice. British Medical Journal, 323, 194-198.  Pub Med icon

Taylor, T. K., Schmidt, F., Pepler, D., & Hodgins, C. (1998). A comparison of eclectic treatment with Webster-Stratton's parents and children series in a children's mental health center: A randomized controlled trial. Behavior Therapy, 29, 221-240.

Webster-Stratton, C. (1990). Long-term follow-up of families with young conduct problem children: From preschool to grade school. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 19(2), 144-149.

Outcomes

Outcome 1: Positive and nurturing parenting
Description of Measures Positive and nurturing parenting was assessed using the following:

  • Independent observations in the home by trained coders of supportive parenting (e.g., praise, encouragement), positive affect, modeled positive behavior, and problem solving (Dyadic Parent-Child Interactive Coding System Revised and Coder Impressions Inventory)
  • Parent reports of positive parenting style (e.g., verbal encouragement, praise and reinforcement, use of incentives and privileges) and monitoring and supervision (Parenting Practices Inventory), as well as the frequency of parent activities with the child (Parent Involvement Questionnaire)
Key Findings Parents in treatment groups that received the parent training by itself or in combination with the child and/or teacher training showed a significant increase in positive and nurturing parenting relative to parents in comparison groups (p < .001 to p < .05). The comparison groups received the child training and/or teaching training only or were exposed to control conditions (wait list, regular Head Start, or regular school curriculum and services).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2, Study 3, Study 4, Study 6
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.7 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 2: Harsh, coercive, and negative parenting
Description of Measures Harsh, coercive, and negative parenting was assessed using the following:

  • Independent observations in the home by trained coders of negative/critical parenting (e.g., parental commands and criticisms, negative physical intrusions), other coercive parenting (e.g., lack of acceptance, condemnation and disregard for the child, sarcasm, anger, unreasonable requests), and lax/permissive parenting (e.g., being tentative or overly permissive, having little parental control) (Dyadic Parent-Child Interactive Coding System Revised and Coder Impressions Inventory)
  • Parent reports of harsh or inappropriate parenting and inconsistent discipline, including verbal and physical aggression (Parenting Practices Inventory), and ratio of critical verbal discipline, including yelling, fighting, threatening physical punishment, or rejecting the child, to positive discipline (Daily Discipline Inventory)
Key Findings Parents in treatment groups that received the parent training by itself or in combination with the child and/or teacher training showed a significant reduction in harsh, coercive, and negative parenting relative to parents in comparison groups (p < .001 to p < .05). The comparison groups received the child training and/or teaching training only or were exposed to control conditions (wait list, regular Head Start, or regular school curriculum and services).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2, Study 3, Study 4, Study 6
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.7 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 3: Child behavior problems
Description of Measures Child behavior problems were assessed using the following:

  • Independent observations in the home by trained coders of child deviance and noncompliance (Dyadic Parent-Child Interactive Coding System Revised) and other poor conduct (Coder Impressions Inventory)
  • Independent observation at school or with peers by trained coders of negative behaviors in class, including aggressive, disruptive, and inappropriate behaviors with teachers and peers (Multiple Option Observation of Child Behaviors at School and Dyadic Peer Interaction Scale), and child's ability to problem solve (Wally Child Social Problem-Solving Detective Game)
  • Parent reports of the frequency of child behavior problems (Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory), externalizing and internalizing child behaviors (Child Behavior Checklist), stress resulting from child characteristics (Parenting Stress Index), and negative behaviors commonly exhibited by children that parents perceive as problematic (Parent Daily Report)
  • Teacher reports of the child's poor behavioral conduct (Behar Preschool Behavior Problems and Perceived Competence Scale for Young Children); social acceptance, aggressiveness, shyness-withdrawal, and disruptive behaviors (Teacher Assessment of School Behavior); externalizing behaviors (Social Competence and Behavior Evaluation, Preschool Edition); and negative behaviors, including fighting, breaking rules, harming others, and refusing to accept authority (School Health Profile)
Key Findings Children in treatment groups that received parent training, child training, and/or teacher training showed a significant reduction in behavior problems at home or at school compared with controls (p < .001 to p < .05). Control conditions included wait list, regular Head Start, or regular school curriculum and services.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2, Study 3, Study 4, Study 5, Study 6
Study Designs Experimental, Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.7 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 4: Child positive behaviors, social competence, and school readiness skills
Description of Measures Child positive behaviors, social competence, and school readiness skills were assessed using the following:

  • Independent observations in the home by trained coders of the child's positive affect and warmth, including smiles, affectionate touch, and positive talk (Dyadic Parent-Child Interactive Coding System Revised), and child's affectionate or prosocial behaviors (Coder Impression Inventory)
  • Independent observations at school or with peers by trained coders of the percentage of time the child was engaged or involved in classroom activities during unstructured time (Multiple Option Observation of Child Behaviors at School); positive communication with peers, such as sharing positive experiences, verbalizing a friendship, and agreeing with a friend (Dyadic Peer Interaction Scale); and ability to problem solve (Wally Child Social Problem-Solving Detective Game and Child Social Problem-Solving Test--Revised)
  • Parent reports of child adjustment (Child Behavior Checklist); prosocial behaviors (Parent Daily Report); and other behaviors, such as demonstrating a desire to resolve peer problems and an understanding of others and emotion regulation (Social Competence Scale--Parent)
  • Teacher reports of the child's social competence, emotion regulation, and expression (Social Competence and Behavior Evaluation); other prosocial and school readiness behaviors, such as being friendly, staying on task, completing assignments, and being self-reliant (Social Health Profile); and positive behaviors, such as making friends easily and having a lot of friends (Teacher Assessment of School Behavior)
Key Findings Children in treatment groups that received parent training, child training, and/or teacher training showed a significant increase in positive behaviors at home or at school compared with controls (p < .001 to p < .05). Control conditions included wait list, regular Head Start, or regular school curriculum and services. When the treatment groups were compared, child training alone or in combination with parent or teacher training had greater effects than parent training only, teacher training only, or parent and teacher training combined.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 1, Study 2, Study 3, Study 4, Study 5, Study 6
Study Designs Experimental, Quasi-experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.7 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 5: Parent bonding and involvement with teacher and school
Description of Measures Parent bonding and involvement with teacher and school were assessed using the following:

  • Independent observations in the home by trained coders of the child bonding with the parent, such as the child being verbally and physically affectionate with the parent, enjoying the parent, and being attached to the parent (Coder Impression Inventory)
  • Parent reports of the frequency of their involvement with the child (e.g., eating together, reading and discussing a book together) and their bonding/satisfaction with the teacher and school (e.g., feeling connected with teachers, welcome in the classroom, able to offer suggestions) (Parent Involvement Questionnaire)
  • Teacher reports of their bonding with parents (e.g., calling parents, writing them notes, inviting them to school) and parent involvement with school or teacher (e.g., calling the teacher, attending school meetings, volunteering in the classroom) (Teacher Involvement Questionnaire)
Key Findings The combination of parent and teacher training resulted in significantly higher levels of parent-child bonding and parent involvement with the teacher and school compared with child training only and control conditions (regular Head Start or regular school curriculum and services) (p < .01 to p < .02).
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 3, Study 6
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.6 (0.0-4.0 scale)
Outcome 6: Teacher classroom management skills
Description of Measures Teacher classroom management skills were assessed using independent observations by trained coders who evaluated the following:

  • General classroom factors (e.g., overall disruptive behavior, student responsiveness to rules) and teacher's responsiveness to student needs and support for student effort (Classroom Atmosphere Measure)
  • Children's interactions with teachers and peers, including teacher's praise and encouragement and use of critical statements (Multiple Option Observation of Child Behaviors at School)
  • Teacher behavior and teacher-child interactions in the classroom, including teacher's use of harsh techniques (e.g., threatening, using criticism, inducing guilt), teacher's use of nurturing techniques (e.g., paying attention when child talked, encouraging child to try something new), and percentage of time teacher was inappropriate (Teacher Coder Impression Inventory)
Key Findings Four of the treatment conditions studied--(1) child training alone, (2) parent and teacher training, (3) child and teacher training, and (4) parent, child, and teacher training--resulted in significantly better teacher management in the classroom compared with control conditions (wait list or regular Head Start) (p < .001 to p < .01). The parent training only condition showed no significant effects relative to control conditions.
Studies Measuring Outcome Study 3, Study 4
Study Designs Experimental
Quality of Research Rating 3.7 (0.0-4.0 scale)

Study Populations

The following populations were identified in the studies reviewed for Quality of Research.

Study Age Gender Race/Ethnicity
Study 1 0-5 (Early childhood)
6-12 (Childhood)
26-55 (Adult)
54.5% Male
45.5% Female
Data not reported/available
Study 2 0-5 (Early childhood)
6-12 (Childhood)
26-55 (Adult)
54.4% Male
45.6% Female
91% White
9% Race/ethnicity unspecified
Study 3 0-5 (Early childhood)
6-12 (Childhood)
26-55 (Adult)
63.6% Female
36.4% Male
37% White
22% Asian
19% Black or African American
18% Hispanic or Latino
2% American Indian or Alaska Native
2% Race/ethnicity unspecified
Study 4 0-5 (Early childhood)
6-12 (Childhood)
26-55 (Adult)
90% Male
10% Female
79% White
21% Race/ethnicity unspecified
Study 5 0-5 (Early childhood)
6-12 (Childhood)
53% Male
47% Female
51% White
19% Black or African American
12% Race/ethnicity unspecified
10% Hispanic or Latino
8% Asian
Study 6 6-12 (Childhood)
26-55 (Adult)
59% Male
41% Female
38% White
20% Hispanic or Latino
14% Asian
14% Black or African American
14% Race/ethnicity unspecified

Quality of Research Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the Quality of Research for an intervention's reported results using six criteria:

  1. Reliability of measures
  2. Validity of measures
  3. Intervention fidelity
  4. Missing data and attrition
  5. Potential confounding variables
  6. Appropriateness of analysis

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Quality of Research.

Outcome Reliability
of Measures
Validity
of Measures
Fidelity Missing
Data/Attrition
Confounding
Variables
Data
Analysis
Overall
Rating
1: Positive and nurturing parenting 3.8 3.8 3.9 3.7 3.6 3.5 3.7
2: Harsh, coercive, and negative parenting 3.8 3.8 3.9 3.7 3.6 3.5 3.7
3: Child behavior problems 3.8 3.8 3.9 3.8 3.7 3.7 3.7
4: Child positive behaviors, social competence, and school readiness skills 3.8 3.8 3.9 3.8 3.7 3.6 3.7
5: Parent bonding and involvement with teacher and school 3.7 3.8 3.9 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.6
6: Teacher classroom management skills 3.7 3.8 4.0 3.8 3.6 3.6 3.7

Study Strengths

The studies employed multiple well-known and commonly used measures to evaluate each outcome. The psychometric properties of each measure were reported. Intervention fidelity was ensured with the use of intervention sessions that were videotaped and reviewed by supervisors, a weekly protocol checklist and supervision, standardized materials, and comprehensive training. The researchers conducted attrition analyses. The use of a randomized control group design decreased the potential for confounding variables to account for the outcomes. Appropriate analyses were conducted for inferring relationships.

Study Weaknesses

In some studies, sample sizes were relatively small, limiting power and some data analysis options.

Readiness for Dissemination
Review Date: August 2007

Materials Reviewed

The materials below were reviewed for Readiness for Dissemination. The implementation point of contact can provide information regarding implementation of the intervention and the availability of additional, updated, or new materials.

Program Web site, http://www.incredibleyears.com

Webster-Stratton, C. (1999). How to promote children's social and emotional competence. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Webster-Stratton, C. (2001). Incredible Years parent group leader training: Leader's guide. Seattle, WA: Incredible Years.

Webster-Stratton, C. (2002). Effective classroom management skills training and Dina Dinosaur's social skills and problem-solving curriculum training for the classroom: Leader's guide. Seattle, WA: Incredible Years.

Webster-Stratton, C. (2003). Incredible Years teacher classroom management group leader training: Leader's guide for Dinosaur school treatment program. Seattle, WA: Incredible Years.

Webster-Stratton, C. (2004). Incredible Years child group leader training: Therapist's guide for Dinosaur school treatment program. Seattle, WA: Incredible Years.

Webster-Stratton, C. (2005). The Incredible Years: A trouble-shooting guide for parents of children aged 2-8 years. Seattle, WA: Incredible Years.

Webster-Stratton, C. (Director and Producer). (2006). The Incredible Years: Parent programs preview [Motion picture]. United States: Incredible Years.

Webster-Stratton, C. (Director and Producer). (2006). The Incredible Years: Teacher classroom management program preview [Motion picture]. United States: Incredible Years.

Webster-Stratton, C. (Director and Producer). (2007). The Incredible Years: Dina Dinosaur child program preview [Motion picture]. United States: Incredible Years.

Readiness for Dissemination Ratings by Criteria (0.0-4.0 scale)

External reviewers independently evaluate the intervention's Readiness for Dissemination using three criteria:

  1. Availability of implementation materials
  2. Availability of training and support resources
  3. Availability of quality assurance procedures

For more information about these criteria and the meaning of the ratings, see Readiness for Dissemination.

Implementation
Materials
Training and Support
Resources
Quality Assurance
Procedures
Overall
Rating
4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0

Dissemination Strengths

Detailed, well-presented curricula are provided for the three individual interventions. Implementer qualifications are clearly described. A full array of high-quality training resources and supports are included for implementers, with systematic guidance provided before and during implementation. A strong emphasis is placed on maintaining fidelity to the model, and well-designed tools are available to assist implementers in monitoring and evaluating performance across a full range of relevant measures.

Dissemination Weaknesses

Implementation and quality assurance guidance is so substantial that some users may have difficulty getting a sense of the program as a whole.

Costs

The cost information below was provided by the developer. Although this cost information may have been updated by the developer since the time of review, it may not reflect the current costs or availability of items (including newly developed or discontinued items). The implementation point of contact can provide current information and discuss implementation requirements.

Item Description Cost Required by Developer
Program materials $1,150-$1,895 depending on series selected Yes
Leader training $400-$500 per participant No
Annual leader consultation $600 per participant No
Certification fee $450 No

Additional Information

Ongoing costs include $476 for each parent in parent groups, $775 for each child in child treatment groups, $15 for each child receiving the Dinosaur curriculum in school, and $30 for each teacher receiving the teacher training. These costs will vary by location.

Replications

Selected citations are presented below. An asterisk indicates that the document was reviewed for Quality of Research.

Baker-Henningham, H., Walker, S., Powell, C., & Gardner, J. M. (2009). A pilot study of the Incredible Years teacher training programme and a curriculum unit on social and emotional skills in community pre-schools in Jamaica. Child: Care, Health and Development, 35(5), 624-631.  Pub Med icon

Bywater, T., Hutchings, J., Daley, D., Whitaker, C., Yeo, S. T., Jones, K., et al. (2009). Long-term effectiveness of a parenting intervention for children at risk of developing conduct disorder. British Journal of Psychiatry, 195(4), 318-324.  Pub Med icon

Drugli, M. B., Larsson, B., Fossum, S., & Mørch, W. (2010). Five- to six-year outcome and its prediction for children with ODD/CD treated with parent training. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51(5), 559-566.  Pub Med icon

Gardner, F., Hutchings, J., Bywater, T., & Whitaker, C. (2010). Who benefits and how does it work? Moderators and mediators of outcome in an effectiveness trial of a parenting intervention. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 39(4), 568-580.  Pub Med icon

Herman, K. C., Borden, L. A., Reinke, W. M., & Webster-Stratton, C. (2011). The impact of the Incredible Years parent, child, and teacher training programs on children's co-occurring internalizing symptoms. School Psychology Quarterly, 26(3), 189-201.

Larsson, B., Fossum, S., Clifford, G., Drugli, M. B., Handegård, B. H., & Mørch, W. T. (2009). Treatment of oppositional defiant and conduct problems in young Norwegian children: Results of a randomized controlled trial. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 18(1), 42-52.  Pub Med icon

Letarte, M. J., Normandeau, S., & Allard, J. (2010). Effectiveness of a parent training program "Incredible Years" in a child protection service. Child Abuse and Neglect, 34(4), 253-261  Pub Med icon.

McGilloway, S., Ni Mhaille, G., Bywater, T., Furlong, M., Leckey, Y., Kelly, P., et al. (2012). A parenting intervention for childhood behavioral problems: A randomized controlled trial in disadvantaged community-based settings. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 80(1), 116-127.  Pub Med icon

Posthumus, J. A., Raaijmakers, M. A., Maassen, G. H., van Engeland, H., & Matthys, W. (2012). Sustained effects of Incredible Years as a preventive intervention in preschool children with conduct problems. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40(4), 487-500.  Pub Med icon

Scott, S., O'Connor, T. G., Futh, A., Matias, C., Price, J., & Doolan, M. (2010). Impact of a parenting program in a high-risk, multi-ethnic community: The PALS trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51(12), 1331-1341.  Pub Med icon

Contact Information

To learn more about implementation, contact:
Lisa St. George
(888) 506-3562
lisastgeorge@comcast.net

To learn more about research, contact:
Carolyn H. Webster-Stratton, Ph.D.
(888) 506-3562
cwebsterstratton@comcast.net

Consider these Questions to Ask (PDF, 54KB) as you explore the possible use of this intervention.

Web Site(s):