Programmes shown to enhance the inter-parental relationship and outcomes for children

Below are some examples of programmes that our review has shown to have positive effects either in the UK or other countries.

Dads for Life (DfL)

  • Dads for Life is an intervention targeting specific aspects of conflict within the couple relationship. The intervention adopts a skills-training approach.
  • Specifically, DfL focuses on improving father-child relationships, as well as increasing fathers’ parenting skills.
  • This intervention has evidence from a RCT involving 214 fathers. Fathers were randomly allocated to an intervention (n=127) or control group (n=87) who received self-help books related to father-child relationships.
  • Both mothers and fathers reported less conflict after involvement in programme compared to control condition.
  • Additional evidence suggests children have lower internalising symptoms where fathers have participated in the programme.

Family Foundations

  • This is an intervention targeting the couple relationship in intact families who are experiencing a transition period (mainly the transition into parenthood).
  • The intervention’s approach involves a combination of skills-training and psycho-education.
  • Evidence supporting the effectiveness of this intervention comes from a randomized control trial involving 169 couples expecting their child. Couples were randomized to either an intervention (n=89) or control condition (n=80).
  • There were significant programme effects on couple relationships, co-parental support; maternal depression and anxiety, and distress in the parent child relationship.
  • Positive child outcomes include improved social competence, school adjustment, and decreased internalizing problems.

Promoting Strong African American Families

  • This is an intervention that targets the couple relationship in intact families.
  • The intervention’s approach involves a combination of skills training and psycho-education.
  • Evidence of intervention effectiveness comes from a randomized control trail involving a sample of 331 African American families with children.
  • Significant short-term effects were found for improved couple communication.
  • Long –term effects included reduced arguing in front of children, and reduced symptoms of depression amongst adolescents.

Schoolchildren and their Families

  • Delivered to couples whose children are making the transition to school (not designed for high risk families).
  • The approach involves parents learning strategies for managing their child’s behaviour and improving their co-parenting practices through joint activities and group discussions involving the couples.
  • Found to be an effective intervention at improving child outcomes and couple/inter-parental outcomes (rated Level 3 on EIF’s evidence scale).
  • Improvements seen in father’s psychological and behavioural involvement in family life, reduced parenting stress, increased couple satisfaction and reduced couple conflict, as well as children’s academic achievement and externalising symptoms.
  • Schoolchildren and their Families is an intervention based on the Parents as Partners intervention model, and both share a largely identical curriculum.  Parents as Partners has some evidence of effectiveness in the UK, though is assessed separately to Schoolchildren and their Families by EIF due to being designed for use with different target population with different needs.