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Considering the Contextual Fit of an Intervention for Families Headed by Parents with an Intellectual Disability: An Exploratory Study

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The purpose of this paper was to report on the results of an exploratory trial of an intensive home-based parenting programme for parents with an intellectual disability. The aim of the programme was to combine the delivery of evidence-based parent education technology for parents with an intellectual disability with two strategies aimed at promoting the contextual fit of the intervention with these families. Materials and Methods 

A single group repeated measures design was adopted. The independent variable comprised the home-based intervention which all participants received. Multiple dependent variables included parents’ perceived stress associated with parenting, parent sense of competence, parent-reported child problem behaviours, and quality of the home environment. During programme delivery the intervention’s contextual fit with each family was assessed, and parent satisfaction with the intervention was measured at post-intervention. Results 

Parents reported reductions in the frequency and intensity of potentially hassling events and reported more satisfaction and confidence with their role as a parent. Parents also reported a reduction in the frequency of child disruptive behaviour and a decrease in the number of disruptive behaviours that parents viewed as being a problem. Improvements were observed in the quality of the home environment for all families. Assessments of contextual fit showed that the programme fitted very well with the parents’ own goals, values, and the families’ lifestyles. Conclusion 

The single group design of the current study precludes a firm conclusion being drawn about the effectiveness of the programme. However, these results show that the programme has promise for assisting families where a parent has an intellectual disability. This study adds to the research demonstrating the success of evidence-based parent education interventions for families headed by parents with intellectual disability by including ways to enhance the contextual fit of interventions.
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Keywords: contextual fit; parent education; parents with an intellectual disability

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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