2013. Vol.4, No.3A, 205-212
Published Online March 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 205
Parent Training Intervention for Parents from Different Cultural
Backgrounds with Children with Behavioral Problems
Francesca Cuzzocrea, Oliva Patrizia, Larcan Rosalba, Murdaca Anna Maria
Department of Human and Social Sciences, University of Messina, Messina, Italy
Received November 28th, 2012; revised December 24th, 2012; accepted January 21st, 2013
The main objective of this paper is to carry out a parent training with parents from different cultural
background with a dual purpose: a) providing basic educational skills that disregard the cultural differ-
ences and b) verify the effectiveness of training and maintenance of skills learned. This research was de-
signed both to verify whether a program of parent-training group can modify the parent-child interactions
in different cultural contexts than the Italian, and to provide a service to families who, for different rea-
sons, can be considered “at risk”. The work was carried out separately on Italian and Sri Lankan groups of
parents of non-compliant children. Both groups learned, by attending training sessions, educational tech-
niques proposed and put them into practice with their children in different interactive contexts.
Keywords: Parent Training; Intercultural Approach; Family; Compliance; Behavior Modification
Every family is a system that lives in a particular time and
moves in a given space (Sponchiado, 2001). Kagitçibasi (1990)
proposes an evolutional model of the family which shows the
mutual influences between the context and the family system,
and explains the evolution of the family in relation to socio-
economic development, creating causal analysis/functional de-
velopment of the self.
The family brings values and processes of socialization that
enable us to understand the variability between the size of in-
dependence and interdependence values. The individual ac-
quires values within the family that determine the opening (ten-
dency to socialization—community) or close relations to the
outside (isolationism—individualism). Even family’s interac-
tions, designed as educational styles, influence the development
of the child’s personality and, consequently, social develop-
ment and relationships. The children spend most of their time in
the household, and in some cases, it is necessary to modify the
parental relationships so that the child learns to emit behaviors
within the family and to generalize them in the social context.
Not all families have the specific skills needed to solve the
problems present in their educational management. This means
that the probability of failure increases causing adverse effects
in individual components and within the entire family system.
For this reason, in the 60s was made an increasing number of
researches using parent-training to analyze and solve a wide
variety of problems relating to the parent-child relationship.
The interest in this type of surgery comes mainly from the pos-
sibility of combining the need for a scientific study with the
opportunity to provide a service that uses the methods whose
validity has been adequately tested (Larcan, 1998; Larcan, Cuz-
zocrea, & Trifirò, 1999; Lundahl, Risser, & Lovejoy, 2006).
Perhaps for this reason, several studies are geared towards be-
havioral parent training guidance. The choice of this type of
intervention is amply justified, in fact, by an extensive national
and international literature that documents the effectiveness in
different contexts and in relation to different family problems
(Danforth, Harvey, & Ulaszek, 2006; Crockett, Fleming, Doe-
pke, & Stevens, 2007).
Among many preventive interventions proposed by applied
research in recent decades, the education of parents, and in
particular the behavioral parent training matrix, allows to im-
prove the quality of parent training, breaking the cycles of co-
ercion in which many families seem hopelessly trapped, resiz-
ing conducted noncompliant children, which could, if not prop-
erly managed, evolve into antisocial behavior (Patterson, De
Baryshe, & Ramsey, 1989; Serketich & Dumas, 1996; Schrep-
ferman & Snyder, 2002; Piquero, Farrington, Welsh, Tremblay,
& Jennings, 2009).
The applied research proposed here is, therefore, within the
systemic-behavioral model of development and falls within the
broad overview of the programs of parent-education, or training
of parents and support budget. These programs are different in
many respects from the traditional procedures (Larcan, Oliva,
& Sorrenti, 2008), and they are intended primarily to convey to
parents a based educational culture. They do not transfer simply
therapeutic techniques aimed at circumscribed problems. This
is accomplished by helping parents to plan, in the context of
natural interaction with their child, a number of development
opportunities, to reduce or prevent severe forms of behavioral
problems (deviance, delinquency, etc.). These problems, if not
properly dealt with, are accentuated over time, burdening the
family even further. In addition, within the family intends to
remove the factors that maintain problem behaviors and dys-
functional. Unlike similar initiatives, this program is character-
ized by methodological rigor and scientific background sup-
porting it, referring to specific learning techniques, previously
tested and validated. Parents are led gradually to acquire the
necessary skills to family management and education with the
aim not to “approve” the parents, but to gain awareness of the
dynamics underlying the educational relationship, and thus
enable them to manage independently and according to its prin-
ciples and objectives, the education and training of children.
Training Aims
This research was carried out on two different sets of parents,
a group was formed by Italian parents (actually Sicilian) and a
group was formed by Sri Lankan parents (living in Sicily). The
preliminary goal was to analyze the two educational models
and therefore to realize a search in the direction suggested by
Kagitçibasi (1996). The cross-cultural approach (Kagitçibasi,
1996), in particular, analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of
training, comparing, in full respect of each other’s cultural
identity in the context of family management, families from
different cultural backgrounds by identifying points of contact
and differences that may provide useful information from the
perspective of an educational intervention in real-cultural inte-
gration. In addition, it was intended to determine whether a pa-
rent training behavior, with the necessary cultural adjustments,
could be equally effective to resolve (and prevent) the behav-
ioral and relational problems of families with different cultural
backgrounds (specifically, Sicilian and Sinhalese). In line with
the theoretical and methodological characteristics and structure
of parent education, the main objective was to teach parents the
most basic behavioral management skills in order to make them
more aware of their role as agents of change and to help them
out of the cycle of coercion, teaching them the basic techniques
of parenting, that is, suggesting to them a few simple educa-
tional strategies, which could increase the efficiency of their
operations and improve their relationship with their children. It
is expected, then, that parents who would have seen that by
changing their behavior, obtained significant change in chil-
dren’s behavior.
Given the specificity of the situation, it was possible to carry
out random sampling, but were allowed to join the program all
parents who, after an initial meeting, during which they were
explained the purpose of the project and the amount of “effort
required”, have agreed to take part. The work was carried out
separately on the two groups of parents.
In particular, the Sicilian parents of non-compliant children
were contacted on the recommendation of a secondary school,
located in the province of Messina. 10 families and, among
these, only seven have completed all stages of the research and
were admitted to the program. The sample of Italian parents is
therefore made up of 7 pairs of parents aged between 35 and 47
years (M = 39.25, SD = 4.06), all from low socio-cultural level
(analyzing their school level and economic situation). The latter
was measured by reference to standard parameters, including
mainly the profession and qualification.
Each parent must fill out a form in which they were requests
information about the personal data (age, occupation, family
composition) and also had to report problems in your family
ménage, referring in particular to the behavior of children con-
sidered inadequate. In most cases, behavioral disorders were
related not only to the children who attended the school from
which they were reported, but also the other children, revealing
almost always problems in the parent-child relationship and
monitoring difficulties. Therefore, the number of children who
have been indirectly observed and treatment was 11 children,
aged between 7 and 11 years (M = 8.36, SD = 1.50).
The Sri Lankan group of parents of non-compliant children
was formed on the recommendation and in collaboration with
Caritas. To ensure the validity and effectiveness of the course,
it is preferred to select the parents of the same nationality and it
was decided to select Sinhalese parents (the most numerous in
the area of Messina), who claimed to have difficulty in raising
their children, supposed to be particularly restless and uncoop-
erative. In spite of difficulties, some of them overcame their
initial wariness and became members of the program. It was a
first structured questionnaire administered in the first phase in
the form of semi-structured interview, which provided informa-
tion on their age and occupation, family composition and the
age and description of behavioral problems of children. We
didn’t have the assistance of a linguistic mediator, so it is
mainly used the Italian language; this resulted in a further se-
lection of families, in which, especially in this first phase of
experimentation, it was necessary to minimize the variables that
could adversely affect the effectiveness of the training.
7 couples of Sinhalese or 7 fathers and 7 mothers, aged be-
tween 30 and 55 years, belonging to a medium-low sociocul-
tural level have joined the course. Only two of the seven cou-
ples both the husband and the wife were in possession of a di-
ploma, the remaining five couples had a lower level of educa-
tion. The age of the children ranged from 10 to 12 years. No
family had never participated in a training course for parents,
and all parents were in Italy for at least three years and had
children who attended primary school for at least one year.
Figure 1(a) shows the average percentage of negative be-
haviors indicated by Italian parents as the most frequent. 45%
of them complained about their children’s behavior of non-
compliance (with meals—20% too much television—15%, too
much clutter in their personal items—10%). In addition, parents
reported that when they deny something, 25% of their children
always respond aggressively, but it seems that rarely they got
appropriate responses from their children (10%). From this we
can understand that 20% of the time, parents prefer to desist;
they said they only intervene if and when necessary.
Sinhalese parents (Figure 1(b)) complained, in particular,
the fact that their children asked for too expensive items, or to
go out with friends. In addition, parents emphasized the fact
that, when they could not satisfy the desires of their children or
when they did not give them permission to do something, they
responded aggressively (raising his voice, slamming doors, etc.).
According to Sri Lankan parents, 50% of the time they asked
their children to do something they did not obey and with con-
siderable frequency (30%) responded aggressively. In particular,
they claimed to have difficulty managing the child especially
when they had to go to school (25%) or asked them to work at
home or outside the home (15%). As reported by the parents, it
seems that only 10% of the children presented inappropriate
behavior during meals. Parents have also underlined that only
10% of the requests child were met by the child without oppo-
The research was organized in 5 stages: 1) pre-training; 2)
training; 3) Post-training; 4) a first follow-up; three months
after the end of the training; 5) and a second follow-up after six
months post-training. During the pre and post training, as well
as in the first and second follow-up, parents were given the
same questionnaires. After the first collective meeting, when
he project was presented, its objectives have been specified: t
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 207
(a) (b)
Figure 1.
Child behaviors indicated by Italian and Sinhalese parents (M%). (a) Italian parents; (b) Sinhalese parents.
dates and general information on special needs to ensure an
ongoing commitment for the duration of the course. Each fam-
ily was met individually and subjected to an informal interview,
which provides a more accurate knowledge of the problems, or
rather, of family functioning. The training phase (phase II) was
achieved mainly through group meetings, but also with indi-
vidual meetings. The training (described in detail in Larcan et
al., 2008), dedicated to the teaching of educational skills that
are mainly based on the principles of behavior modification,
provides a total of 9 meetings per week: the first three were
devoted to “teaching skills, aimed at increasing appropriate
behaviors”. These skills are easier to learn and more immedi-
ately gratifying, while the next 4 aim to decrease inappropriate
behavior. The 8th meeting was entirely devoted to compliance.
During the 9th meeting were addressed more specific problems,
related to individual cases or situations. All matches had a
similar organizational structure, in order to create a more reas-
suring condition and a higher effectiveness. At each meeting,
new skills were defined and illustrated through examples, ex-
planations and short films, and parents were asked to practice
through the process of role playing until the full achievement of
a mastery level. Finally they were assigned “homework” to do
at home with the guidance of a schema that contains the re-
To verify the effectiveness of the proposed training, in the
phases of pre-training, post-training and in meetings follow-up,
the following questionnaires (some of which are prepared ad
hoc) were administered.
Questionnaire A—Evaluation of the problems according to
Italian parents and Sinhalese parents. Were prepared 47
items of which 13 relate to the way in which the child
spends the time when at home, the 26 items on interaction
behaviors acted out by his son and 8 items structured in or-
der to assess the personal autonomy of the child (α = .79).
Parents should mark the emission frequency of each be-
have- ior choosing between never, rarely, quite often, very
often and always (5 Likert scale intervals). Higher scores
are indicative of greater severity of the problem.
Questionnaire B—Self-evaluation of educational behavior
of the parents. Parents were asked to mark which of the be-
haviors listed would implement more likely in the 16 situa-
tions described in the questionnaire (behaviors usually im-
plemented by children with similar ages to those of their
children). The questionnaire consists of two types of re-
sponses: what they would do in a similar situation would
(real life) and what they thought would be right to do (ideal
situation). The parameters considered are the number of
correct choices (behaviors appropriate education—α = .81)
and the number of errors (inadequate educational behav-
iors—α = .82).
The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used
for data analysis.
Questionnaire A—Evaluation of the problems. Table 1 shows
means (M), standard deviations (SD) of data on parents’ re-
sponses (Italian and Sinhalese) at different stages of assessment.
The nonparametric data (relative frequency), in order to access
this type of information that was provided only by sophisticated
statistical tests, such as the A.NO.VA and t test, was considered
essential to transform them into arcsine (Freeman & Tukey,
For the statistical analysis, two different A.NO.VA. were
separately applied to the two types of households, creating a
factorial design with repeated measures 3 (different types of
behavior: during the time at home vs. vs. interaction behaviors.
personal autonomy) × 4 (different phases of administration:
pre-training vs. post-training; I follow-up vs. II follow-up).
Evaluation of the extent of the problems in Italian parents—
The analysis has highlighted significant differences between all
the variables considered. In particular, there were highly sig-
nificant differences between the 3 different types of behavior
(time at home vs. interaction behaviors vs. personal autonomy)
(F2,26 = 9.608, p < .01) and at different stages of administration
(F3,177 = 32.273, p < .01). The interaction between these two
factors was highly significant (F6,177 = 3318, p < .01). In par-
ticular, there were highly significant differences between the 3
different types of behavior (time at home vs. interaction behav-
iors vs. personal autonomy) (F2,26 = 9.608, p < .01) and at dif-
ferent stages of administration (F3,177 = 32.273, p < .01). The
interaction between these two factors was highly significant
(F6,177 = 3318, p < .01).
Evaluation of the extent of the problems in Sri Lankan par-
ents—The data, processed in arcsine with the formula of Free-
man and Tukey (1955), were analyzed by analysis of variance
(A.NO.VA.) which has allowed, even in this family context, to
highlight significant differences between all the variables taken
into account. In particular, there were highly significant differ-
ences between the 3 different types of behavior (time at home
vs. interaction behaviors vs. personal autonomy) (F3,63 = 10.608,
p < .01) and at different stages of administration (F3,63 = 9.44, p
< .05). In particular, there were highly significant differences
between the 3 different types of behavior and the phases of
administration (time at home vs. interaction behaviors vs. per-
sonal autonomy) (F2,21 = 3.83, p < .05).
These differences are evident by observing Figure 2, in
which it is possible to temporarily experience a progressive
decrease of the evaluation of the extent of the problems made
by Italian parents (Figure 2(a)) during the four doses of the
questionnaire, especially between the first and the second de-
tection. In particular, in the post-training evaluation is observed
(as a percentage) far less negative children’s problems in all
three areas considered behavioral changes and this change re-
mains constant both in the first follow-up, carried out after
three months, and in the second carried out six months after the
end of training.
Table 1.
Mean (M), standard deviation (SD) scores of Questionnaire A, reported by Italian and Sinhalese parents.
Italian parents (N = 14) Sinhalese parents (N = 14)
T 1 T 2 T 3 T 4 T 1 T 2 T 3 T 4
M (SD) M (SD) M (SD) M (SD) M (SD) M (SD) M (SD) M (SD)
Time at home 1.56 (.17) 1.4 (.19) 1.42 (.21) 1.34 (.13) 1.17 (.18) 1.01 (.19) 1.08 (.13) 1.12 (.21)
Interaction behaviors 1.16 (.23) .97 (.17) .93 (.16) .91 (.12) 1.03 (.21) .89 (.18) .85 (.15) .78 (.22)
Personal autonomy 1.35 (.44) 1.1 (.44) .88 (.37) .94 (.28) 1.07 (.31) .85 (.33) .73 (.37) .69 (.32)
Note: T1: pre-training; T2: post-training; T3: I follow-up; T4: II follow-up.
(a) (b)
Figure 2.
Results (M%) of questionnaire a reported by italian and sinhalese parents. (a) Italian parents; (b) Sinhalese parents.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
In measurements of follow-up, although it is evident a sig-
nificant improvement in the assessment of the extent of prob-
lems compared to the baseline situation, there are significant
differences between the investigated areas (time at home, in-
teraction behaviors, personal autonomy). Three months later, in
fact, the improvement registered is unchanged with regard to
the behaviors of interaction and behavior at home, while there
is a further improvement with regard to personal autonomy.
After six months, there is a slight but significant further reduce-
tion of the problems at home, and the maintenance of the
changes occurred in the other two areas (interaction behaviors).
Observing graphical representation of the evaluation carried out
by Sinhalese parents (Figure 2(b)), it is possible to experience,
temporarily, a progressive decrease of the evaluation of the
extent of the problems made by the parents in the post-test; in
fact, we observe an evaluation (in percent) far less negative in
children’s problems in all three areas of behavior considered.
This change, however, does not remain constant during the first
follow-up, carried out after three months, there has been a fur-
ther increase in the assessment of the conduct at home, while it
is evident a significant improvement in the assessment of the
extent of problems in the personal autonomy and interactions
with parents/children.
Questionnaire B—Self-evaluation of educational behavior of
the parents. Table 2 show the means (M), standard deviations
(SD) of the data processed in arcsine using the Freeman and
Tukey’s formula (1955) relating to the marks obtained by
Italian parents and Sinhalese parents in the Questionnaire B.
It’s important to remember that in the questionnaire B there
were two types of responses: what parents would have done in
a similar situation (real life) and what they thought would be
right to do (ideal situation), and that the parameters considered
were the number of the correct choices and the number of er-
rors (wrong choices). Therefore, the statistical analysis con-
sisted in the application of test AN.O.VA with a factorial de-
sign repeated measures 2 (actual behavior vs. ideal behavior) ×
2 (correct vs. incorrect choices) × 4 (questionnaire phases),
examining separately two different groups. Self-evaluation of
Italian parents’ educational behavior—The analysis of the re-
sults has revealed significant differences in the actually imple-
mented behavior by Italian parents and those considered more
correct, at least in theory, in response to the behavior of chil-
dren (F1,24 = 7.25, p < .01). Were also highlighted highly sig-
nificant differences between the right answers and the wrong
ones (F1,24 = 617,806, p < .01), and between the different
phases of detection (F3,144 = 3267, p < .05). In addition, the
effect which exist in the interaction between the type of re-
sponses (right/wrong) in the different phases of detection (F3,144
= 137.03, p < .01) seems to be relevant. Self-assessment of Sri
Lankan parents’ educational conduct—Similar results were
obtained in the sample of Sinhalese parents. Indeed, analysis of
variance (AN.O.VA) of the factorial design repeated measures
2 (actual behavior vs. ideal behavior) × 2 (correct vs. incorrect
choices) × 4 (phases of the questionnaire) found significant
differences between the right answers and the wrong ones (F1,14
= 584.832, p < .01), and between the different phases of detec-
tion (F3,96 = 348.111, p < .01). In addition, the effect which
exist in the interaction between the type of responses (right/
wrong) in the different phases of detection (F3,96 = 348.222; p
< .01) seems to be relevant. In Figure 3, where are represented
the average percentage of the raw scores obtained in the ques-
tionnaire B by Italian parents (correct answers: Figure 3(a)
wrong answers: Figure 3(b)), you can “see” better the effects
of training. In fact, in the post-test it is clear that parents have
improved their ability to evaluate what would be better for them
to do in different situations, and how they have learned to im-
plement the principles acquired. At the same time, there was a
significant reduction in bad behavior. In first follow-up parents
seem to show greater, although not significant, difficulties in
implementing the techniques they had previously learned; al-
though they maintain the ability to correctly assess what they
should do. It also noted an increase (not significant) in the
number of wrong answers. In the 2nd follow-up parenting skills
seem to stabilize, both in reference to the correct answers, and
to still make mistakes.
As it is showed in Figures 4(a) (right answers) and 4(b)
(wrong answers), even the Sri Lankan parents seem to have
gained more educational skills. In fact, in the post-test it is clear
that parents have improved their ability to evaluate what would
be better for them to do in different situations, and how they
have learned to implement the principles acquired. At the same
time, there was a significant reduction in bad behavior.
In fact, even if the claims made by the parents in the ques-
tionnaire reveal a sufficient amount of appropriate educational
behaviors, in pre-training phase incorrect answers are too fre-
quent. Furthermore, it appears that parents are quite convinced
of the correctness of their educational methods, it is clear that
the assessment of what is right to do and the conviction of what
they would do in different situations coincide almost perfectly.
In first follow-up parents seem to show a greater, although not
statistically significant, parenting skills (increase of correct
answers), while there is a significant reduction of incorrect
Table 2.
Mean (M), standard deviation (SD) scores of questionnaire B, reported by Italian and sinhalese parents.
Italian parents (N = 14) Sinhalese parents (N = 14)
T 1 T 2 T 3 T 4 T 1 T 2 T 3 T 4
M (SD) M (SD) M (SD) M (SD) M (SD) M (SD) M (SD) M (SD)
Correct choice 1.38 (.37) 2.03 (.24) 2.18 (.17) 2.21 (.15) 1.88 (.17) 2.03 (.19) 2.27 (.27) 2.12 (.22)
Real situation
Incorrect choice .94 (.21) .68 (.25) .43 (.2) .31 (.18) .89 (.18) .69 (.18) .42 (.26) .58 (.20)
Correct choice 1.78 (.19) 2.07 (.23) 2.18 (.17) 2.21 (.15) 1.88 (.17) 2.03 (.19) 2.28 (.27) 2.14 (.22)
Ideal situation
Incorrect choice .94(.22) .62 (.29) .43 (.2) .311 (.18) .88 (.17) .69 (.18) .42 (.26) .58 (.2)
Note: T1: pre-training; T2: post-training; T3: I follow-up; T4: II follow-up.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 209
(a) (b)
Figure 3.
Results (M%) of questionnaire B reported by italian parents. (a) Correct choice; (b) Incorrect choice.
(a) (b)
Figure 4.
Results (M%) of questionnaire B reported by sinhalese parents. (a) Correct choice; (b) Incorrect choice.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 211
answers. Parents seem to have understood their “mistakes” and
claim to implement different educational methods. In the 2nd
follow-up, however, it is observed that the correct answers are
reduced (although not significantly), while there is a significant
increase in incorrect answers.
The main objective of this research was to evaluate the effi-
cacy of a treatment for parents, foreign and local, in children
with mild non-compliance conduct. The intervention was aimed
primarily at encouraging, in familiar contexts, educational
management skills of parents and reduces, therefore, the be-
havior of children’s non-compliance.
To verify the effectiveness of the training, it was considered
useful to refer to the average scores obtained by the “group” of
parents in each of the instruments used in the various stages of
assessment. This is to verify that for the parameters considered
(perception and evaluation of the extent of the problems from
parents, knowledge of the principles of educational psychology
and management skills education), compared to the baseline
situation (baseline), there were significant changes as a result of
training and whether they were maintained over time.
Assessments carried out by Italian parents—The areas that
are assessed as most problematic were those of personal
autonomy. The maladaptive behaviors were obviously higher
frequent than those evaluated with the highest levels of unde-
sirability. The training seems to have proved effectiveness in
this direction because the evaluation of the frequency of mal-
adaptive behaviors (referred to as undesirable) was significantly
reduced and it was found also a good maintenance of the
change, even nine months after the end of the training. Further
confirmation of the effectiveness of the training is the evalua-
tion of the skills of parenting: in fact the proportion of correct
answers increased significantly, and at the same time, has re-
duced the number of errors, the parents of both groups have
gained a greater awareness of how it would be better to behave
in certain situations of educational criticism. The fact that in the
follow-up distance there has been a gradual ascent of unfair
educational practices suggests the need of further more frequent
reminders of the skills learned during the training and testing
more straightforward (in vivo) of the interactions parents/chil-
Assessments carried out by Sri Lankan parents—In this case,
the statistical analysis of the results allowed us to verify the
effectiveness of the training course for parents, and because it
was possible to scale the evaluation of the extent of the prob-
lems made by the parents, but especially because it seems to
have provided them with appropriate educational tools. In fact,
Sinhalese parents showed already in the pre-training adequate
parenting skills, although they still use too often inadequate
educational strategies. The training had the function on the one
hand to reduce the “errors” and on the other hand education
makes parents able to choose the most appropriate educational
methods in response to each specific problem. It was found,
however, insufficient process of generalization and mainte-
nance of skills learned in response to each specific problem. In
fact, six months after the conclusion of the course there is a
change in trend: parents tended to commit new errors even
though they are not serious. In the second follow-up the same
parents say they still have, albeit to a lesser extent than before,
some problems of interaction with the child, but that has defi-
nitely improved his behavior (aggressive responses were re-
duced and increased capabilities of personal autonomy). It is,
therefore, once again confirmed the hypothesis that the acquisi-
tion of effective skills management education fosters interac-
tions parent/child acting positively on the sense of parental
It is important to underline that the results are obviously not
generalizable, due to some methodological limitations, includ-
ing the small numbers of parents and not entirely rigorous se-
lection procedures, but may represent a further confirmation of
the effectiveness of parent training use.
Both groups learned, by attending training sessions, educa-
tional techniques proposed and put them into practice with their
children in different interactive contexts. The educational skills
acquired immediately after the training make parents suffi-
ciently maintained over time (follow-up), although the correct-
ness of educational performance has suffered some decline
(while maintaining awareness of the mistakes). The children’s
behavior has improved in parallel and consistently, especially
in the areas of greatest interest (conducted interactive and per-
sonal autonomy), and the change recorded in the post-training
has remained constant or even increased, with the passage of
time. The reduction of inappropriate behaviors of children (real
or perceived as negative by parents), the increase in educational
skills of the parents, the probable reduction of their educational
inconsistencies, co-presence to the training of fathers and
mothers, have undoubtedly influenced processes of family in-
teraction, creating a functional and a favorable educational en-
vironment. Analyzing the results achieved by each family, we
can, however, draw some guidelines for the implementation of
possible future research. A first consideration is the partici-
pation of fathers in training. The presence of both members of
the couple in parental training and the resulting total parental
complicity in renewing the educational project, has certainly
enhanced the effects of training. In fact, the most significant
predictor of educational success is always the motivational
drive that leads the first single parent to take this experiential
path and then to develop a new educational system investing all
his/her resources. In spite of the fact that some of the problems
related to conduct disorders that parents have to face are less
serious than others, parents can benefit from a specific course
anyway (Larcan, 1996; 1998; Lundahl et al., 2006; Larcan et al.,
2008). Another important consideration concerns a fundamental
component of any successful intervention training: the gener-
alization processes activated during and after the learning pe-
riod. In addition in order to teach proper and effective educa-
tional strategies, which become part of the behavioral repertoire
of each parent firm, the training should, in fact, enhance their
ability to use the skills acquired in a variety of different educa-
tional contexts and situations. It should, therefore, emphasize
the need to organize longer training sessions, periodic fol-
low-up calls and, the most frequent, the encouragement of self-
regulation skills through parents who, during the training, were
predominantly hetero- regulated by the trainer. Today, the pro-
gram of parent training itself is an experimental model of a
greater and decisive intervention project aimed at preventing
relational disorders in the family. This project provides the
possibility of early detection, with appropriate assessment tools,
various conditions of risk, and therefore, to intervene very early,
before the discomfort occurs. The parent training would not be
a simple intervention technique, but it could become an effec-
tive prevention tool, especially if it was made permanent as
parental support, particularly in the areas and familiar contexts
at risk (Barker, Cook, & Borrego, 2010).
Barker, C. H., Cook, K. L, & Borrego, J. (2010). Addressing cultural
variables in parent training programs with latino families. Cognitive
and Behavioral Practice , 17, 157-166.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Ex-
periments by nature and design. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Crockett, J., Fleming, R. K., Doepke, K. J., & Stevens, J. (2007). Parent
training: Acquisition and generalization of discrete trials teaching
skills with parents of children with autism. Research in Develop-
mental Disabilities, 28, 23-36. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2005.10.003
Cuzzocrea, F., & Larcan, R., (2005). Parent training for families with
mentally retarded children. Journal of Applied Radical Behavior
Analysis (JARBA), 1, 21-31.
Danforth, J. S., Harvey, E., Ulaszek, W. R., & McKee, T. E. (2006).
The outcome of group parent training for families of children with
attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and defiant/aggressive be-
havior. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry,
37, 188-205. doi:10.1016/j.jbtep.2005.05.009
Freeman, M. F., & Tukey, J. W. (1955). Transformation related to ang-
ular and square root. Annual s o f M ath ema ti cs and St atistics, 21, 607.
Kagitçibasi, Ç. (1990). Family and socialization in cross-cultural per-
spective: A model of change. In J. Berman (Ed.), Cross-cultural per-
spective: Nebraska symposium an motivation (pp. 135-200). Lincon,
NE: Nebraska University Press.
Kagitçibasi, Ç. (1996). Family and human development across cultural.
New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
Larcan, R. (1996). Analisi del comportamento deviante secondo una
prospettiva evolutivo-comportamentale. In A. Mangano, & A. Mic-
helin-Salomon (Eds), La devianza dei minori come problema edu-
cativo. Roma: P. Lacaita Ed.
Larcan, R., (1998). Un progetto di intervento per la prevenzione di pro-
blemi comportamentali in età evolutiva. In R. Larcan, & M. A. D.
Vita (Eds), Crescere nella complessità: La prevenzione del rischio
nella dimensione educativa e rel a z ionale. Milano: Unicopli.
Larcan, R., Cuzzocrea, F., & Trifirò, I. (1999). Parent training di grup-
po per la prevenzione di comportamenti antisociali. Pre-atti, X
Congresso Nazionale AIAM C, Napoli, 26-28 Novembre 1999, 44-45.
Larcan, R., & Cuzzocrea, F., (2002). Parent training for families with
mental retarded children. Pre-atti, Fourth European Conference Psy-
chological Theory and Research on Mental Retardation and Cogni-
tive Developmental Disabilities (MRCD), Catania, 23-25 May 2002,
Larcan, R., Oliva, P., & Sorrenti, L. (2008). Interventi psicologici sulla
famiglia. Padova: Piccin.
Lundahl, B., Risser, H. J., & Lovejoy, M. C. (2006). A meta-analysis of
parent training: Moderators and follow-up effects. Clinical Psychol-
ogy Review, 26, 86-104 doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2005.07.004
Patterson, G. R., De Baryshe, B. D., & Ramsey, E. (1989). A devel-
opmental perspective on antisocial behavior. American Psychologist,
44, 329-335. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.44.2.329
Piquero, A. R., Farrington, D. P, Welsh, B. C., Tremblay, L. R., & Jen-
nings, W. G. (2009). Effects of early family/parent training programs
on antisocial behavior & delinquency. Journal of Experimental Cri-
minology, 5, 83-120. doi:10.1007/s11292-009-9072-x
Schrepferman, L., & Snyder, J. (2002). Coercion: The link between
treatment mechanisms in behavioral parent training and risk reduc-
tion in child antisocial behavior. Behavior Therapy, 33, 339-359.
Serketich, W. J., & Dumas, J. E. (1996). The effectiveness of behav-
ioral parent training to modify antisocial behavior in children: A
meta-analysis. Behavior Therapy, 27, 171-186.
Sponchiado, E. (2001). Capire le famiglie. Le Bussole: Carocci.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.