EPIC is Awesome

Understanding Positive Results

In order to better understand how GenerationPMTO achieves positive results, researchers at Michigan State University are doing something EPIC; they are studying the delivery of Evidence-based Parenting Intervention Components of the well-established intervention program.

Developing Data-informed Innovations

Dr. Kendal Holtrop, the principal investigator of the study, explains how the idea came about: “We were doing some parenting work with families in Florida experiencing homelessness and needed to think of innovative, more condensed ways to deliver the program.

When making decisions about which program components to emphasize, we talked to GenerationPMTO experts and parents who had experience with the program. But we also wanted more data to help inform these choices.”

Collaboration & Research

This led to a grant from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Holtrop and her research team partnered with Dr. Marion Forgatch at GenerationPMTO and Dr. Jared Durtschi at Kansas State University. They developed a rating system that measures the delivery of eight GenerationPMTO components: the five core parenting practices (skill encouragement, limit setting, problem solving, monitoring, positive involvement) as well as three supporting elements (clear directions, emotion regulation, effective communication).

Measuring Results

To measure their delivery, Deb Miller (right) and team are now watching close to 180 videos from a GenerationPMTO program provided to single mother families.

Findings from that randomized controlled trial showed positive outcomes lasting up to nine years, including improved family income, reduced police arrests for mothers and youngsters, reduced substance use for mothers and youngsters, reduced youth externalizing and delinquent behavior, and reduced youth internalizing.

Finding Links, Shedding Light

“It is sort of like reading a book backwards,” explains Dr. Holtrop, “We already know there is a happy ending – that the PMTO program helped these families. Now we are going back to the beginning to learn more about how it all started.”

Once the measurements are complete, the researchers will examine links between each GenerationPMTO component and parent and child outcomes over time. The results will help to shed light on the most influential components of the program. This could have an important role in shaping future GenerationPMTO programs and training efforts.

Hard Work Pays Off

“It has been a lot of work,” reports Dr. Holtrop, “but work that is well worth it.” She attributes the early success of this project to the support from an amazing research team and a shared vision to continue expanding the reach of GenerationPMTO to help more families.

Stay Tuned: 2nd Project to Launch Soon!

In a couple of months, Dr. Holtrop will be launching a second project with a new set of videos developed from a 2-day GenerationPMTO skills workshop. The new project is an online program intended to help prevent child behavior problems by sharing foundational GenerationPMTO skills with families across Michigan.