Objective: To evaluate the effect of a preventative intervention in Jamaican basic schools on child behaviour and parent-teacher contacts.
Design and Methods: Five basic schools in Kingston, Jamaica, were randomly assigned to an intervention (n = 3) or control (n = 2) condition. Intervention involved seven whole-day teacher workshops using the Incredible Years Teacher Training Programme supplemented by fourteen lessons on social and emotional skills in each class. Within each classroom (n = 27), children were screened for behaviour difficulties through teacher report and children with the greatest difficulties were selected for evaluation of outcomes (135 children). Teachers’ reports of child behaviour using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and of the quality of teacher-parent contacts were collected at the beginning and end of the school year. Multilevel regression analyses controlling for school and classroom were used to evaluate the effects of intervention on child behaviour.
Results: Significant benefits of intervention were found for children’s conduct problems (regression coefficient (b) = -0.62, 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.01, -1.23), hyperactivity (b = -0.84, 95% CI:-1.57, -0.11) and peer problems (b = -1.24, 95% CI: -1.89, -0.59). The effect sizes were 0.26 for conduct problems, 0.36 for hyperactivity and 0.71 for peer problems. No significant benefits were found for the prosocial and emotional problems subscales. The intervention also resulted in increases in the number of positive teacher-parent contacts (p < 0.0001). No benefits were found for the number of negative teacher-parent contacts.
Conclusion: This is a promising approach for reducing children’s externalizing behaviour and peer problems and for improving the quality of teachers’ contacts with parents of children with behaviour problems.