Condition category
Mental and Behavioural Disorders
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting
Publication status

Plain English Summary

Background and study aims
Childhood behaviour problems are an important public health issue because of their prevalence, stability over time, poor prognosis in terms of future physical and mental health problems, crime, drug and alcohol misuse, and cost to society. A child’s behaviour is associated with the parenting they receive. Parents differ in how they raise their children and what style of parenting they pursue. There are many influences on parenting styles, including culture, parental mental health, education and a wealth of literature on child-rearing. Some parenting styles appear to be more helpful for the child’s development, others less so. The best child outcomes appear to be related to parenting characterised by warmth, affection, caring, clear communication, consistent discipline, having confidence in parenting and not over-controlling the child. Only about a third of parents have adopted the most helpful parenting styles.

One method of developing more helpful parenting practices is through the use of group-based parenting programmes. These may be based on a number of different theoretical principles, and several different types of parenting programme are currently available. The Webster-Stratton Parents and Children Series parenting programme was found to develop skills most closely matching those identified as key for best parenting . This programme aims to reduce child behaviour problems, strengthen the relationship between parents and their children, reduce over-controlling parental behaviours, and develop authoritative parenting skills such as the use of clear commands, setting limits and providing consistent discipline. The methods include handouts, discussion of video clips, small group discussions, role-play, home practice of parenting skills each week, self-management and cognitive self-control.

This study aims to answer the following questions:
1. Does the Webster-Stratton parenting programme, delivered by health visitors in primary care, meet its aim to improve child behaviour problems (effectiveness) and other objectives (to be easy, useful and appropriate)?
2. What are the effects of the programme on the parents in terms of mental health, relationships with their child, parenting competence and confidence, and level of support for their parenting (impact)?
3. Is the benefit from the parenting programme confined to families with children already in the clinical range for behaviour problems, or do other families also benefit (the case for targeted or population interventions)?

Who can participate?
Parents registered at Bury-Knowle GP surgery, with children aged between 2 and 8 years and scoring at or above the median on the Eyberg Child Behaviour Inventory questionnaire.

What does the study involve?
Participants were randomly allocated to one of two groups. One group received the Webster-Stratton parenting intervention, a 10-week parent-training programme (one 2-hour session per week) run by a trained health visitor. The other group did not receive the intervention, only the usual health visitor advice available through the GP practice.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Possible benefits include improvements in the children’s behaviour and improvements in maternal anxiety, depression and self-esteem. No risks were identified

Where is the study run from?
Health Services Research Unit, Oxford University (UK).

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
The study ran from July 1999 to 2000.

Who is funding the study?
NHS Executive South East (UK).

Who is the main contact?
Jacoby Patterson

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Jacoby Patterson


Contact details

Health Services Research Unit
Institute of Health Sciences
Old Road
United Kingdom
+44 (0)1865 226933

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title


Study hypothesis

To investigate the effectiveness of a parent training programme delivered by health visitors in primary care; to quantify levels of behaviour problems among children aged 2-8 yrs in a community sample; quantify changes in behaviour over 12 months; assess the impact of the programme on the mothers' self-esteem, anxiety, depression & perceived stress of parenting

Ethics approval

Added 02/12/2013: Applied and Qualitative Research Ethics Committee (formerly NAPREC), 1999

Study design

Randomised controlled trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting

GP practices

Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet


Mental and behavioural disorders: Behavioural disorders


10 week parent-training programme (1 x 2 hr session/week) run by trained health visitor against control group receiving only usual health visitor advice available through GP practice

Intervention type



Not Applicable

Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Children -Eyberg Child Behaviour Inventory, Goodman Strengths & Difficulties Questionnaire; Mothers -Abidin Parenting Stress Index, GHQ, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale

Secondary outcome measures

Not provided at time of registration

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

60 parents registered at Bury-Knowle GP surgery, with children aged between 2 and 8 years and scoring more than 1 standard deviation away from population normal on Eyberg Child Behaviour Inventory

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants


Participant exclusion criteria

Children already receiving treatment for behaviour problems, with severe learning difficulties or autism. Parents with learning difficulties

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Health Services Research Unit
United Kingdom

Sponsor information


NHS R&D Regional Programme Register - Department of Health (UK)

Sponsor details

The Department of Health
Richmond House
79 Whitehall
United Kingdom
+44 (0)20 7307 2622

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

NHS Executive South East (UK)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

2004 results in:

Publication citations

  1. Results

    Stewart-Brown S, Patterson J, Mockford C, Barlow J, Klimes I, Pyper C, Impact of a general practice based group parenting programme: quantitative and qualitative results from a controlled trial at 12 months., Arch. Dis. Child., 2004, 89, 6, 519-525.

Additional files

Editorial Notes