Evidence-Based Practices

Parenting Inside Out meets the criteria for an evidence-based program

What Does Evidence-Based Mean?

Parenting Inside Out is the only evidence-based parenting skills program developed specifically for incarcerated and criminal justice involved parents and evidence-based practices are becoming the requirement in corrections. But, what does that really mean?

According to the University of Wisconsin (Evidence-based Programs: an overview, What Works Wisconsin Research to Practice Series, Issue #6, October, 2007) to be designated evidence-based a program must:

  • Have rigorous evaluation research
  • Demonstrate that results can be attributed to the program
  • Have a research study and its results subjected to critical peer review
  • The program has been reviewed by a federal agency ore respected research organization and is included on their list of effective programs.

The Kaufman Best Practices Project (2004) further outlined the criteria a program must meet to be considered a best practice:

  • Have a sound theoretical base in generally accepted psychological principles indicating that it would be effective in treating at least some problems of the population.
  • Be generally accepted in practice as appropriate for the population.
  • Have at least one randomized controlled study indicating its efficacy.
  • Have a book, manual or other writings available to professionals that specifies the components of the program and how to conduct it.
  • Able to be delivered in common settings with a reasonable degree of fidelity to the program principles and elements.
  • Can be delivered by typical professionals who have received a reasonable level of training and supervision in its use.
Parenting Inside Out meets the criteria for an evidence-based program and several of the criteria for a best practice.

The Evidence Behind Parenting Inside Out

Theoretical Foundation

Knowing that in past studies, the children of incarcerated parents appear to be at increased risk specifically for the development of antisocial behavior problems that can lead to criminal behavior (Eddy & Reid, 2001; Eddy & Poehlmann, 2010), Parenting Inside Out began with a comprehensive review of studies on the psychosocial treatment of conduct disordered children and adolescents (Brestan & Eyberg, 1998). Only two interventions were found to meet stringent criteria for a “well-established” intervention that has been proven to make a significant difference in child behavior, and both were variants of Parent Management Training (PMT) (Forgatch & Martinez, 1998; Eddy, 2006). Notably, over the past several decades, PMT has been adapted for use in a wide variety of prevention programs targeting the development of antisocial behaviors. Thus, Parenting Inside Out was designed with Parent Management Training as its core foundation.

PMT is a form of cognitive behavioral intervention. Criminal justice involved parents frequently have errors in their thinking about their role as a parent, and thus addressing this area in an intervention is important. Many parents have not had the opportunity to learn and practice a wide variety of prosocial parenting skills, so moving beyond simply talking about what parents should do is vital. Cognitive behavioral techniques (e.g., self-control and self-motivation, use of role play, modeling, rehearsal of skills) are employed to address parents’ errors in thinking, teach parenting skills, and help parents begin to form a foundation for appropriate parenting and prosocial citizen behaviors after release.

Randomized, Controlled Study

Parenting Inside Out was evaluated in a $2.1 million longitudinal randomized controlled preventive intervention trial (RCT) funded by the National Institute of Health and conducted by a research team based at the Oregon Social Learning Center. The principal investigator of the study was Dr.  J. Mark Eddy, and the primary co-investigators were Dr. Charles R. Martinez, Jr., Dr. Rex Newton, Dr. Bert Burraston, and Dr. John B. Reid. Ms. Danita Herrera was the primary project coordinator. Primary partners in the study were the Oregon Department of Corrections and Pathfinders of Oregon.

The Parent Child Study, which began in 2006, was designed to investigate the effectiveness of Parenting Inside Out as a prison-based Parent Management Training intervention. Participants were recruited from throughout the Oregon Department of Corrections. The study followed 359 incarcerated mothers and fathers and their families, starting 9 months before release to one year post release. A variety of factors were measured in the study, from the quality of parent-child relationships and parent-caregiver relationships during prison to re-arrest and substance abuse rates following release into the community. The results of the Parent Child Study demonstrated that Parenting Inside Out has measureable positive impacts on key factors.

To our knowledge, Parenting Inside Out is the only parenting program for criminal justice involved parents that has been the subject of a longitudinal RCT with a relatively large sample size and a diverse sample. For more on the design and outcomes of the study, please visit the Outcome Study page and see references on the Children of Incarcerated Parents page. Further questions about The Parent Child Study can be addressed to Dr. J. Mark Eddy, Director of Research, Partners for Our Children, University of Washington School of Social Work, jmarke@uw.edu.

Manual, Training and Program Fidelity

Parenting Inside Out has a comprehensive manual, including both instructor and student materials. The manual is a script for delivering the program that ensures instructors deliver the program with high fidelity.

Becoming a certified Parenting Inside Out instructor requires completion of a three day training program that covers the research and background of the program as well as how to deliver the curriculum.

Review by a Federal Agency

Parenting Inside Out has been reviewed by SAMSHA and appears on its National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) website.nrepp-120-90-v2-print-small