Modeling Parenting Programs as an Interim Service for Families Waiting for Children's Mental Health Treatment
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Using a discrete choice conjoint experiment, we explored the design of parenting programs as an interim strategy for families waiting for children's mental health treatment. Latent class analysis yielded 4 segments with different design preferences. Simulations predicted the Fast-Paced Personal Contact segment, 22.1% of the sample, would prefer weekly therapist-led parenting groups. The Moderate-Paced Personal Contact segment (24.7%) preferred twice-monthly therapist-led parenting groups with twice-monthly lessons. The Moderate-Paced E-Contact segment (36.3%), preferred weekly to twice-monthly contacts, e-mail networking, and a program combining therapist-led sessions with the support of a computerized telephone e-coach. The Slow-Paced E-Contact segment (16.9%) preferred an approach combining monthly therapist-led sessions, e-coaching, and e-mail networking with other parents. Simulations predicted 45.3% of parents would utilize an option combining 5 therapist coaching calls with 5 e-coaching calls, a model that could reduce costs and extend the availability of interim services. Although 41.0% preferred weekly pacing, 58% were predicted to choose an interim parenting service conducted at a twice-monthly to monthly pace. The results of this study suggest that developing interim services reflecting parental preferences requires a choice of formats that includes parenting groups, telephone-coached distance programs, and e-coaching options conducted at a flexible pace.