Home > What works to enhance inter-parental relationships and improve outcomes for children?

Harold, Gordon and Acquah, Daniel and Sellers, Ruth and Chowdry, Haroon [Early Intervention Foundation] . (2016) What works to enhance inter-parental relationships and improve outcomes for children? London: Early Intervention Foundation. 134 p.

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URL: http://www.eif.org.uk/publication/what-works-to-en...

Key findings include:
• The quality of the inter-parental relationship, specifically how parents communicate and relate to each other, is increasingly recognised as a primary influence on effective parenting practices and children’s long-term mental health and future life chances.
• Parents/couples who engage in frequent, intense and poorly resolved inter-parental conflicts put children’s mental health and long-term life chances at risk.
• Children of all ages can be affected by destructive inter-parental conflict, with effects evidenced across infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
• The context of the wider family environment is an important factor that can protect or exacerbate child outcomes in response to exposure to inter-parental conflict. In particular, levels of negativity and parenting practices can exacerbate or moderate the impact of inter-parental conflict on children.
• Inter-parental conflict can adversely affect both the mother-child and father-child relationship, with evidence suggesting that the association between inter-parental conflict and negative parenting practices may be stronger for the father-child relationship compared to the mother-child relationship.

This indicates that the couple relationship is an important site for early intervention. It has implications for a wide range of policy areas from effective approaches to child mental health to managing child behaviours. In particular, it is important that policy makers and commissioners consider interventions and support for both the couple and the parenting relationship (both the mother-child and the father-child relationship). Just targeting the parental-child relationship in the context of ongoing inter-parental conflict does not lead to sustained positive outcomes for children.

Much more needs to be done to test and learn about what works, for whom and in what circumstances, and about how to implement effective interventions, ensuring quality of practice, appropriate supervision and impact. It is important that any future investment from Government and other funders builds in effective evaluation and enables commissioners and practitioners working on the ground to share learning.


Item Type:Evidence resource
Publication Type:Review
Drug Type:Alcohol or other drugs in general
Intervention Type:AOD prevention, Education and training
Source:Early Intervention Foundation
Date:2016
Pages:134 p.
Publisher:Early Intervention Foundation
Place of Publication:London
EndNote:View
Subjects:J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Risk and protective factors
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Prevention approach > Family-focused prevention
L Social psychology and related concepts > Marital relations > Family and kinship > Family structure > Family support
L Social psychology and related concepts > Marital relations > Family and kinship > Family structure > Family support > Parental support
L Social psychology and related concepts > Marital relations > Family and kinship > Family relations
L Social psychology and related concepts > Marital relations > Family and kinship > Family relations > Family role > Role of parent
L Social psychology and related concepts > Marital relations > Family and kinship > Family relations > Family role > Role of child
L Social psychology and related concepts > Marital relations > Family and kinship > Family relations > Parent-child relations
MM-MO Crime and law > Crime and violence > Crime against persons (assault / abuse / intimidation)
T Demographic characteristics > Child
T Demographic characteristics > Prevention worker
T Demographic characteristics > Social worker
T Demographic characteristics > Parent

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