Without a paddle: Utilizing oars within an online problem-solving communication program to improve the parent-child relationship
Although parent-child conflict is a normative feature in adolescence, it may result in negative outcomes when it occurs frequently and at high intensity. Parental support behaviors (e.g., warmth, communication, reinforcement) are important during adolescent development to shape appropriate behaviors, while providing opportunities to reinforce the adolescent’s autonomy. While behavioral parent training interventions are effective for helping parents manage parent-child conflict that emerges during this developmental period, engagement and retention for face-to-face therapy are problematic. These concerns become more apparent for underserved populations. Efforts to increase accessibility of parenting interventions (e.g., I-PCIT, Triple-P Parenting Program) through online platforms have generated support for internet interventions with younger children. Far fewer studies have investigated online behavioral interventions for parents of adolescents. The aims of this study are to pilot the feasibility and acceptability of an online parenting intervention for parent-adolescent conflict, as well as assess program outcomes for both caregivers and their adolescents (ages 11 to 14). The self-directed program was adapted from components of Problem-Solving/Communication Training (PSCT), an evidence-based parent management intervention for parents of adolescents. Didactic skills, modeling, and practice assignments translated core PSCT components, and specific communication strategies were added to the model (OARS: Open Questions, Affirmations, Reflections, Summaries). Feasibility data indicate participants perceived the intervention to be accessible and acceptable. Preliminary treatment outcome findings indicate improvements in multiple domains (i.e., relationship quality, involvement, communication, and conflict) following program completion.