Engaging Military Parents in Family Skills Training

first_imgBy Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhDCreative Commons [Flickr, Area I Community Baby Shower, June 2, 2012]The ADAPT (After Deployment, Adaptive Parenting Tools) parent training program has been developed for military parents who are seeking to improve their parenting skills [1].  Parent participation in the study was high and preliminary data from the study have indicated that military parents – both the military member and spouse – are willing to participate in parenting skills training.The ADAPT program was developed by modifying one of the interventions developed through the empirically tested Parent Management Training – Oregon (PMTO) model.  The ADAPT program was modified to address the specific needs of military parents after deployment.  Adaptations included the military cultural context, reintegration issues, combat stress reactions and their impact on the family and parenting, and ways to manage roadblocks to group participation.The program addresses 5 positive parenting practices: (1) skills encouragement; (2) positive involvement; (3) family problem-solving; (4) monitoring; and, (5) effective discipline.  Parenting skills were taught weekly for 14, 2-hour group sessions.  In addition to group training sessions, ADAPT provided web-based training modules that included skill and practice videos, mindfulness exercises, and home practice assignments.  A total of 42 families participated in this first study, who participated in groups of 5-6 families.  An almost equal number of fathers and mothers participated in the study (39 mothers and 36 fathers).  The most common number of children in the family was 2, with 44% of the families reporting 3 or more children.  The National Guard and Reserve (NG/R) participant group was skewed towards higher ranks.  Almost one-third (31%) of the participants were officers compared with a national average of 15% officers in the NG/R.  Recruitment was measured by the count of families that participated in at least one group session.  Retention measures included weekly attendance, completion of home practice assignments, and usage of online tools.  Acceptability of the program was measured using a 20-item questionnaire targeting participant satisfaction, group experience, and home practice satisfaction.Of the 42 families invited to attend group sessions, 33 families attended at least one session.  On average, at least one parent attended 10 sessions, with 79% attending at least 50% of the sessions.  Over one-half of the families accessed the online tools at least once.  Use of the online tools varied greatly, with an average use of 15 times during the study period.  Families used summaries the most (33%), followed by knowledge checks (32%), videos (30%), and handouts (25%).  The mindfulness exercises were the least utilized online tool, with only 19% of families accessing the mindfulness module.  Families that actively participated in group sessions were more likely to access the online training modules.Of particular note, several families in the study indicated that they enjoyed ADAPT because the program was consistent with the values associated with military life, such as structure, clarity, and routines.  The authors also reported that families seemed to be more willing to participate when the program emphasized prevention and was offered in the form of education, particularly in a community setting.This study did not assess behavior change in the families who participated, but instead focused on utilization of and satisfaction with the ADAPT program.  It appears that adaptations made to the PMTO program to create the ADAPT program were well-received by this audience. Clinicians who work with military families that experience deployment may want to consider using the ADAPT program to assist with reintegration.References[1] Gewirtz, A. H., Pinna, K. M., Hanson, S. K., & Brockberg, D. (2014). Promoting parenting to support reintegrating military families: After deployment, adaptive parenting tools. Psychological Services, 11(1), 31-40. doi: 10.1037/a0034134This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.last_img

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