Study on the effect of support groups for children, aged between 8 and 12 years, of parents with mental disorder or substance use disorder
04 / 2007 - 04 / 2011
To answer the question: Are the support groups for children (8-12 year-olds) of parents with a diagnosed mental disorder (including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or other psychotic disorder and personality disorder) and substance use disorder effective in decreasing behavioural and emotional problems, strengthening emotional competence and social functioning of the child and improving family functioning? Samenvatting Over one third of the children of parents with a mental disorder (abbreviated in Dutch as KOPP ) or children of parents with a substance use disorder ( KVO in Dutch) develops serious and long-lasting problems themselves. Early in life, these children run a higher risk for abuse and neglect, depression, eating disorders, conduct problems and academic failure. Later in life, they are at higher risk for depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, eating problems and personality disorders. In the Netherlands, a coherent package of preventive interventions has been developed for KOPP children and for children of parents with a substance abuse disorder. In this project (research proposal), the effect of one of the longest running interventions will be tested, namely the preventive support-group for children, aged between 8 and 12 years, of parents with mental and and/or substance abuse problems. The intervention is standardized and consists of eight group meetings for the children and two meetings for their parents. The most important aim is to prevent serious emotional and behavioural problems in these children. In this proposal of the experimental group (participants in the support-group condition) will be compared to a waiting list control group. The control group is offered a minimal intervention including three sessions of leisure time activities for the children. Children are assigned randomly (50%) to one of the two conditions. Assessments will take place preceding the intervention (pre-test), directly after termination - that is ten weeks after the start (post-test) -, and three months after post-test (follow-up test). The effect will be assessed on four variables: presence of psychosocial, behavioural and emotional problems, competency, social functioning of the child, and family functioning.