Robert McMahon On Parenting

By Angela Henneberger, a predoctoral fellow in the Curry School’s Institute for Education Sciences

Robert McMahon speaks on parentingAs a graduate student, it was a pleasure to listen to Dr. McMahon speak on parent training as an approach to treating child behavior problems. Dr. McMahon gave an overview of the research conducted in this area over the past three decades.  He stressed that for practitioners, researchers, and policy makers, prevention should continue to be a key focus even though effects may be delayed.  Prevention should continue to be a key goal because it is effective and has both social and economic impacts.  The payback for every dollar invested in parent training is about $4.00-10.00, which is a good economic argument for investing in parent training. While progress in research and practice has been made over the past three decades, Dr. McMahon specifically pointed to aspects of research that are still limited, and specifically pointed to the ways in which students can help to fill research gaps. For example, little is known about the mechanisms through which parent training works. That is, it is unknown how and why parent training works and for whom. Furthermore, little is known about parent training for parents of children with comorbid disorders (e.g., both conduct problems and ADHD), and little is known about the effectiveness of culturally adapted parent training programs. As a graduate student in Educational Psychology, I was pleased to hear Dr. McMahon point students in the direction of necessary future research. He even gave specific examples of research projects that graduate students can engage in without applying for a large randomized controlled trial (RCT).  For example, he mentioned the importance of practical research questions, necessary and within the scope of a graduate student’s capabilities.  As an educational psychologist, I learned the current state of the parent training literature, while also learning about important directions for future research.

Angela Henneberger is an Institute for Education Sciences predoctoral fellow in the Applied Developmental Sciences Ph.D. program in the Curry School of Education. She earned her Ph.D. this spring.

Youth-Nex sponsored the talk, “Family-based Interventions with Young Children with Conduct Problems: Lessons Learned and Future Directions,” on April 24, 2012, as part of the Curry Research Lectureship Series.

Listen to Robert McMahon’s talk [Bottom four bullets].

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