Consumer engagement and the development, evaluation and dissemination of evidence-based parenting programs
AbstractA consumer perspective can contribute much to enhancing the “ecological fit” of population level parenting interventions so they meet the needs of parents. This approach involves building relationships with consumer groups and soliciting consumer input into the relevance and acceptability of interventions, clarifying the enablers and barriers to engagement and involvement of parents, and clarifying variables that influence a parent’s program completion. The adoption of a more collaborative approach to working with consumers is important if meaningful population level change in the prevalence of serious social, emotional and behavioral problems in children and young people is to be achieved. Parents seeking assistance for their children’s behavior come from a diverse range of socioeconomic backgrounds, educational levels, cultures and languages. This paper examines consumer engagement strategies that can be employed throughout the process of program development, evaluation, training and dissemination and in “scaling up” the intervention. We argue that a multi-level public health approach to parenting intervention requires a strong consumer perspective to enable interventions to be more responsive to the preferences and needs of families and to ensure improved population reach of interventions. Examples from large scale dissemination trials are used to illustrate how consumer input can result in an increasingly differentiated suite of evidence-based parenting programs.