Psychometric Properties of Parent Outcome Measures Used in RCTs of Antenatal and Early Years Parent Programs: A Systematic Review

Publication authors

Sarah L. Blower, Nicole Gridley, Abby Dunn, Tracey Bywater, Zoe Hindson & Maria Bryant


Parenting programs are effective in the early intervention and treatment of children’s social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. However, inconsistency in the use of outcome measures limits the comparability of programs and creates challenges for practitioners seeking to monitor progress of families in their care. A systematic review was conducted to identify measures, appraise their psychometric properties and ease of implementation, with the overall objective of recommending a small battery of measures for use by researchers and practitioners. This article provides an overview of the most commonly used measures in experimental evaluations of parenting programs delivered to parents of children up to, and including, the age of 5 years (including antenatal programs). An in-depth appraisal of the psychometric properties and ease of implementation of parent outcome measures is also presented (findings in relation to child and dyadic outcome measures are presented elsewhere). Following a systematic search, 64 measures were identified as being used in three or more of 279 included evaluation studies. Data on the psychometric properties of 18 parent outcome measures were synthesised from 87 development and validation studies. Whilst it was not possible to identify a definitive battery of recommended measures, we are able to recommend specific measures that could be prioritised in further research and development and hold promise for those seeking to monitor the outcomes of parents and children in receipt of parenting programs.