Parenting interventions for families with refugee backgrounds: a randomized factorial, mixed-methods design study protocol
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionTrials. 2021, 22, 790. 10.1186/s13063-021-05766-9
Background: Raising children in new social and cultural contexts can be challenging for parents. In order to help parents address these challenges, the Norwegian government has instituted a policy of mandatory parent training for families who settle in Norway as refugees. The Incredible Years (IY) and The International Child Development Programme (ICDP) have been widely adopted throughout Norway. They have similar aims: to improve parenting through positive parenting practices and development of attachment behaviors. We will evaluate the use of these programs and a measurement feedback system (MFS) to give regular feedback to interventionists about parents’ progress during the course of the parenting intervention. Methods: The study is a mixed method, randomized factorial design aimed at evaluating the effect of parenting interventions and the use of feedback to address parental stress, child behavior, resilience, and parents’ mental health. Factor 1 is based on random assignment to one of the parenting interventions IY or ICDP. The parenting interventions are delivered over 15 weeks (IY) or 12 weeks (ICDP) in group-based settings. Factor 2 is based on random assignment of the parenting groups to the (a) with MFS or (b) without MFS condition. The MFS is answered weekly via a phone app, MittEcho, and results are sent to group leaders in the MFS condition. Additionally, the study explores the experiences of families settling in a new cultural context and participating with parenting programs via qualitative interviews. Participants will be recruited from a population of parents with children between the age of 6 and 12 years who settled in Norway as refugees within the previous 9 years. The target sample size is N = 360; n (IY) = 180, n (ICDP) = 180 families. This study is a collaboration between first-line, municipal services; their national governing agencies; family representatives; and a national network of research organizations. Discussion: This study endeavors to provide information about what helps families with refugee background integrate successfully into new cultural contexts with different laws, norms, and expectations. Whether or not these interventions can help to normalize this experience, reduce stress, and provide parents with new tools to improve their parenting and the lives of their children are important questions which we address. These findings can lead to the further establishment of evidence-based practices in Norway.