Parent use and efficacy of a self-administered, tablet-based parent training intervention: A randomized controlled trial

Susan M. Breitenstein, Louis Fogg, Edith V. Ocampo, Diana I. Acosta, Deborah Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Parent training programs are traditionally delivered in face-to-face formats and require trained facilitators and weekly parent attendance. Implementing face-to-face sessions is challenging in busy primary care settings and many barriers exist for parents to attend these sessions. Tablet-based delivery of parent training offers an alternative to face-to-face delivery to make parent training programs easier to deliver in primary care settings and more convenient and accessible to parents. We adapted the group-based Chicago Parent Program (CPP) to be delivered as a self-administered, tablet-based program called the ezP ARENT program. Objective: The purpose of this study was to (1) assess the feasibility of the ezP ARENT program by examining parent satisfaction with the program and the percent of modules completed, (2) test the efficacy of the ezP ARENT program by examining the effects compared with a control condition for improving parenting and child behavior in a sample of low-income ethnic minority parents of young children recruited from a primary care setting, and (3) compare program completion and efficacy with prior studies of the group-based CPP. Methods: The study used a two-group randomized controlled trial (RCT) design with repeated measures follow up. Subjects (n=79) were randomly assigned to an intervention or attention control condition. Data collection was at baseline and 12 and 24 weeks post baseline. Parents were recruited from a large, urban, primary care pediatric clinic. ezP ARENT module completion was calculated as the percentage of the six modules completed by the intervention group parents. Attendance in the group-based CPP was calculated as the percentage of attendance at sessions 1 through 10. Satisfaction data were summarized using item frequencies. Parent and child data were analyzed using a repeated measures analysis of variance (RM-ANOVA) with simple contrasts to determine if there were significant intervention effects on the outcome measures. Effect sizes for between group comparisons were calculated for all outcome variables and compared with CPP group based archival data. Results: ezP ARENT module completion rate was 85.4% (34.2/40; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 78.4%-93.7%) and was significantly greater (P<.05) than face-to-face CPP group attendance (135.2/267, 50.6%) attendance of sessions; 95% CI = 46.8%-55.6%). ezP ARENT participants reported the program as very helpful (35/40, 88.0%) and they would highly recommend the program (33/40, 82.1%) to another parent. ezP ARENT participants showed greater improvements in parenting warmth (F1,77 = 4.82, P<.05) from time 1 to 3. No other significant differences were found. Cohen's d effect sizes for intervention group improvements in parenting warmth, use of corporal punishment, follow through, parenting stress, and intensity of child behavior problems were comparable or greater than those of the group-based CPP. Conclusions: Data from this study indicate the feasibility and acceptability of the ezP ARENT program in a low-income, ethnic minority population of parents and comparable effect sizes with face-to-face delivery for parents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere36
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2016


  • Internet
  • Intervention
  • Mobile app
  • Mobile health
  • Parenting
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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