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Parents sought for online Triple P Positive Parenting trial

Media Release
The University of Auckland
30 January 2013

Parents sought for online Triple P Positive Parenting trial.

Parents of children aged 3-4 years who exhibit inattentive and overactive behaviour are sought for a study of the Triple P Positive Parenting Programme.

The Parenting Research Group at The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education is currently recruiting sixty five parents throughout New Zealand, to complete an online version of the programme. This involves eight half hour modules weekly with personalised phone support, completion of three sets of questionnaires, and no associated costs.

Matt Sanders, founder of the Triple P Programme, Adjunct Professor in the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education, and Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Queensland, reminds parents that taking a parenting programme is not about admitting failure as a parent. He points to the world-famous Dunedin Longitudinal study in which levels of attentiveness and self-control exhibited at age three years predicted an individual’s health, wealth, and criminality 30 years later. In light of this he encourages parents to see involvement in the Triple P Programme research as an empowering step towards developing more positive relationships with their child, and increased confidence in their skills as a parent.

“This is an evaluation trial to rigorously test the success of an online model of Triple P specifically with parents of pre-schoolers exhibiting inattentive and overactive behaviour,” says Matt. “While there is a wide range of clinician and group services available for parents, there can be an associated stigma which can be a barrier to parents’ participation in a parenting programme. An internet-based model for concerned parents will enable them to see what they can do on their own before seeking face-to-face professional support.”

With recent international research showing high prevalence of access to the internet and broadband within New Zealand, alongside increasingly demanding lifestyles, the Triple P online programme could have strong appeal and wide benefit if successful. It will provide a parenting intervention with flexibility and privacy for parents to seek support and develop skills from the privacy of their own homes. It will also importantly have the benefit of being trialled and tested, and backed by strong scientific evidence – something a lot of internet-based information and support do not offer.

“The programme is designed as an ‘enabler’ for parents – It’s not about becoming dependent on internet-based wisdom. It aims to help parents become independent problem-solvers by using the programme as tools rather than the end game,” says Matt Sanders.

Selection of the 3-4 year age group was made strategically with the goal to stem behavioural problems at an early age, and prevent further related issues arising later in childhood.

“It is easier to turn behavioural difficulties around at an early age. Once children start school these can be compounded by difficulties with peers and teacher relationships. If these behaviours can be managed earlier rather than later, positive outcomes for children are more likely to occur,” says Louise Keown, Principal Investigator.

The research has been approved by The University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee on 21/11/2012 for three years, reference: 2012/8376.

To volunteer for the study contact the Parenting Research Group (Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland) on 09 623 8899 ext 83042, mobile 022 380 5687 or
email for more information.

The Triple P Research Group was established at the Faculty of Education in 2008 under the direction of Adjunct Professor Matt Sanders, who is also the Director of the Parenting and Family Support Centre at the University of Queensland.

The Triple P Positive Parenting Programme is based on 30 years of international scientifically validated methods of family intervention and runs in 25 countries. It helps parents develop increasingly positive relationships with their child, enhances their skills and confidence as parents, and supports constructive management of children’s behaviour. For further information please visit:

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