A new research brief from Child Trends synthesises findings from random-assignment, intent-to-treat evaluations of 50 behaviour programmes. The evaluations assessed programme impacts on externalising behaviours (eg, aggression, disruptive behaviour, and oppositional defiance) and/or internalising behaviours (eg, withdrawal, anxiety, or depression) among children aged birth to five.
Overall, 36 of the 50 programmes were found to have a positive impact. Specifically:
32 of 49 programmes (65%) improved externalising behaviours;
13 of 24 programmes (54%) improved internalising behaviours; and
Of the 23 programmes that assessed impacts on both behaviours, eight (35%) worked for both internalising and externalising behaviours.
Findings showed that interventions characterised by a variety of approaches, settings, targets, and providers worked to reduce externalising behaviours, suggesting that this cluster of behaviours can be improved using a number of different approaches.
In addition, the authors conclude that programmes targeting parents and teachers are especially successful and should continue. They say that innovative approaches to programme delivery, including technology-based or self-guided training, should be explored to scale up these successful programmes and reach families who struggle to attend training or commit to home-visiting.
Source: What Works for Reducing Problem Behaviors in Early Childhood: Lessons from Experimental Evaluations (2015), Child Trends.