Children's disruptive behavior problems place children at high risk for oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder, and carry a high burden for individuals and society. Policy makers and service providers aiming to reduce children's disruptive behavior problems must often choose between importing an intervention developed abroad or instead developing or using a "home-grown" (i.e., local) intervention. No comprehensive comparison of these interventions exists.
We performed a multilevel meta-regression of 129 randomized trials (374 effect sizes) of transported and homegrown parenting interventions. We identified trials by searching the included trials lists of systematic reviews, found through searches in 6 databases (e.g., MEDLINE, EMBASE). Trials that had not yet been reviewed were found by searching the same databases. Primary outcome was the mean difference in effectiveness between transported and homegrown interventions to reduce disruptive child behavior. We also compared this differential effectiveness for various intervention "brands" (e.g., Incredible Years and Triple P Positive Parenting Program) and geographical regions (e.g., North America and Europe).
Transported and homegrown interventions did not differ in their effectiveness to reduce disruptive child behavior (d = 0.10, not significant). Results were robust across intervention brands and geographical regions. Six trials on transported interventions in Hong Kong, Iran, and Panama suggest promising results for transporting interventions to "nonwestern" countries, whereas one trial in Indonesia does not.
Parenting interventions based on the same principles led to similar outcomes, whether transported or homegrown. This finding supports the selection of interventions based on their evidence base rather than on cultural specificity.
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