Outcome Study

Reduced Recidivism, Better Parental Participation, Better Attitude

The Parent Child Study, a longitudinal randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the effectiveness of the Parenting Inside Out program, was conducted beginning in the mid-2000’s. The study was funded through a $2.1 million grant awarded to the Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC) from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Additional funding central to the conduct of the study came from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, a prevention intervention research center grant from NIMH to OSLC, and from the state of Oregon.

Study Results

  • Reduced Recidivism: At one year post release, Parenting Inside Out participants in the study were less likely to have been rearrested (32% to 41%) and less likely to report having been involved in criminal behavior (29% reduction compared to controls).
  • Better Parental Participation: Participants of the program reported more total family contact, were more likely to be involved in the lives of their children, were more likely to use positive reinforcement, and had lower parental stress scores than their peers who did not participate in the Parenting Inside Out program.
  • Better Attitude: Parenting Inside Out participants showed a dramatic reduction in depression (measured by the CES-D) when compared with their control group peers. In addition, the class significantly raised their prison adjustment scores as compared to the control group.
  • Reduced Substance Abuse: Following release, participants of the program reported substantially less substance abuse (1.6 times less likely than controls) than their peers who did not take Parenting Inside Out classes while incarcerated.

Study Design

Inmates throughout the state of Oregon were invited to participate in the study; 453 were eligible for the intervention, and 80% of them (N=359) were eligible for the study. Participants were men and women residing in Oregon Department of Corrections institutions:

  • Parents of children ages 3 to 11
  • Had some role in parenting their children in the past; expected such a role in the future

Of the participants, 50% were men and 41% were racial and/or ethnic minority.

Participants were randomly assigned to Parenting Inside Out or a services as usual control condition, blocking on sex and race/ethnicity. The program was delivered by trained and supervised coaches from an established, community-based nonprofit service agency, Pathfinders of Oregon.

Participants were assessed before, during, and after the intervention period, and then followed up to one year after release from prison. Data were collected from:

  • Inmate parents
  • Children
  • Caregivers
  • Teachers of inmate’s children
  • Official school, court, and Department of Corrections records

Trained parenting coaches delivered Parenting Inside Out with high fidelity. Participation in the program was high, as was parent satisfaction.

Analyses were conducted based on Intent to Treat assignment, regardless of participation in the intervention. Multiple imputation procedures were used for missing data. STATA Mixed-Effects Poisson Regression was used for the analyses, which is a hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) program which allows for controlling for the participant clustering by prison and cohort.

Results have been presented at several national and international research conferences. Initial study results have been accepted for publication in a peer reviewed journal (to be published in 2012). Manuscripts on follow-up study results and on moderators of treatment outcome are in production.