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Delivering clinical evidence-based child–parent interventions for emotional development through a digital platform: a feasibility trial

Selby, Emma, Allabyrne, Clare and Keenan, Joseph R ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8855-1776 (2021) Delivering clinical evidence-based child–parent interventions for emotional development through a digital platform: a feasibility trial. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 26 (4). pp. 1271-1283. ISSN 1359-1045

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Abstract

As the prevalence of mental health conditions in childhood increases, there are growing concerns around the accessibility and scale of evidence-based support. However, barriers to referral, time commitment and engagement rates means recommended traditional group-based parenting programmes are unable to provide population level support at scale. The aim of this feasibility study was to establish whether a suite of purposively constructed animated films and digital resources could positively impact on parent and child outcomes in the early years. Families from a range of backgrounds ( n = 129) participated in a mixed method evaluation of the digital programme. After completing online surveys and interviews, the test group was given access to the Embers the Dragon platform for 8 weeks whilst the control group continued as usual. 98% of test group parents showed an improvement in parental response in relation to effective parenting styles. During qualitative interviews, child participants verbally recalled an increased range of emotions and coping strategies highlighted in the programme. Digital interventions can be used to support children’s emotional development independent of clinicians and may provide a solution to sustainable family psychoeducation, thereby fulfilling a preventative agenda and potentially lessening the future impact on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

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