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Preventive efforts targeting childhood anxiety and depression symptoms have the potential to alter the developmental trajectory of depression and anxiety disorders across the lifespan. Substantial previous research suggests that modifiable parenting factors such as parental aversiveness and over-involvement are associated with childhood anxiety, depressive and internalising symptoms, indicating that parents can play a critical role in prevention. The Parenting Resilient Kids study is a new evidence-based online parenting program designed to prevent anxiety and depression problems in primary school-aged children by reducing family-based risk factors and enhancing protective factors through increased positive interactions between parent and child.
The current study is a parallel group superiority randomised controlled trial with parent-child dyads randomised to the intervention or active-control group in a 1:1 ratio. The intervention group will receive the Parenting Resilient Kids program consisting of a feedback report on parenting behaviours and up to 12 interactive online modules personalised based on responses to the parent survey. The active-control group will receive a standardised package of online educational materials about child development and wellbeing. The trial website is programmed to run a stratified random allocation sequence (based on parent gender) to determine group membership. We aim to recruit 340 parent-child dyads (170 dyads per group). We hypothesise that the intervention group will show greater improvement in parenting risk and protective factors from baseline to 3-month follow-up (primary outcome), which will in turn mediate changes in child depressive and anxiety symptoms from baseline to 12 and 24 months (co-primary outcomes). We also hypothesise that the intervention group will show greater benefits from baseline to 3-, 12- and 24-month follow-up, with regard to: child depressive and anxiety symptoms (co-primary outcomes); and child and parent health-related quality of life, and overall family functioning (secondary outcomes).
This randomised controlled trial will examine the efficacy of the Parenting Resilient Kids program as a preventive intervention for anxiety and depression symptoms in primary school-aged children, as well as changes in child and parent health-related quality of life. Findings from this study will examine design features that render web-based prevention programs effective and the extent to which parents can be engaged and motivated to change through a minimally guided parenting program.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): Trial ID ACTRN12616000621415 Registered on 13 May 2016. Updated on 3 March 2017.