Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Gretchen A. Gimpel


Gretchen A. Gimpel


Many preschool children exhibit a number of problematic, acting-out behaviors. Parents of preschoolers exhibiting behavior problems often experience a great deal of stress associated with these problem behaviors. Consistently robust improvements have been found in the use of stress management for adult stress, pain, and medical wellbeing. Likewise, studies have shown parent training decreases the severity of child behavior problems. However, only a few studies have examined effects of parent training on both child behavior and parent stress. Some studies have found that parents who complete parent training also report lowered stress levels commensurate with improvement of child behavior. It is unclear, though, whether adding stress management would provide additional benefits to parents and their children.

The purpose of this study was to look at effects of providing both parent training and stress management training to parents of preschoolers, and to look at the effects of providing treatment in a different order to two groups of parents. Parent volunteers completed seven weeks of parent training and four weeks of stress management training, with half of the parents receiving stress management first and half receiving parent training first.

It was found that overall improvements in measures of parent stress and chiId behavior were not significantly different between the two groups. Improvement in child behavior was attributed to parent training; improvement in parent stress was attributed to both parent training and stress management training, with larger improvements in parent-related stress generally attributed to stress management training and larger improvements in child-related stress attributed to parent training. However, child behavior temporarily worsened while parents received stress management training. Stress management did not enhance effects of parent training, but parents were better off on measures of stress and parenting efficacy after receiving both training components than they were after receiving only one treatment component. Parents felt more effective as parents after treatment and rated the overall treatment package highly; however, parents who received their preferred treatment first were slightly more satisfied than parents receiving preferred treatment second. Teachers reported general improvement in children whose parents received treatment and those whose parents did not receive treatment.



Included in

Psychology Commons