La Trobe
100403_Hackworth,N_2017.pdf (870.64 kB)

Impact of a brief group intervention to enhance parenting and the home learning environment for children aged 6–36 Months: a cluster randomised controlled trial

Download (870.64 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-04-05, 05:38 authored by Naomi HackworthNaomi Hackworth, D Berthelsen, J Matthews, Elizabeth WestruppElizabeth Westrupp, W Cann, OC Ukoumunne, Shannon BennettsShannon Bennetts, T Phan, A Scicluna, M Trajanovska, M Yu, Jan NicholsonJan Nicholson

This study evaluated the effectiveness of a group parenting intervention designed to strengthen the home learning environment of children from disadvantaged families. Two cluster randomised controlled superiority trials were conducted in parallel and delivered within existing services: a 6-week parenting group (51 locations randomised; 986 parents) for parents of infants (aged 6–12 months), and a 10-week facilitated playgroup (58 locations randomised; 1200 parents) for parents of toddlers (aged 12–36 months). Each trial had three conditions: intervention (smalltalk group-only); enhanced intervention with home coaching (smalltalk plus); and ‘standard’/usual practice controls. Parent-report and observational measures were collected at baseline, 12 and 32 weeks follow-up. Primary outcomes were parent verbal responsivity and home learning activities at 32 weeks. In the infant trial, there were no differences by trial arm for the primary outcomes at 32 weeks. In the toddler trial at 32-weeks, participants in the smalltalk group-only trial showed improvement compared to the standard program for parent verbal responsivity (effect size (ES) = 0.16; 95% CI 0.01, 0.36) and home learning activities (ES = 0.17; 95% CI 0.01, 0.38) but smalltalk plus did not. For the secondary outcomes in the infant trial, several initial differences favouring smalltalk plus were evident at 12 weeks, but not maintained to 32 weeks. For the toddler trial, differences in secondary outcomes favouring smalltalk plus were evident at 12 weeks and maintained to 32 weeks. These trials provide some evidence of the benefits of a parenting intervention focused on the home learning environment for parents of toddlers but not infants. 


Publication Date



Prevention Science




13p. (p. 337-349)


Springer Nature



Rights Statement

© The Author(s) 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.