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The effects and costs of the universal parent group program – all children in focus: a study protocol for a randomized wait-list controlled trial

Lene Lindberg1*, Malin Ulfsdotter2, Camilla Jalling2, Eva Skärstrand2, Maria Lalouni3, Kajsa Lönn Rhodin3, Anna Månsdotter1 and Pia Enebrink2

Author affiliations

1 Department of public health sciences, Karolinska institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

2 Department of clinical neuroscience, Karolinska institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

3 Family and social welfare, Stockholm, Sweden

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Citation and License

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:688  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-688

Published: 29 July 2013



In recent decades, parents have been involved in programs that aim to improve parenting style and reduce child behavior problems. Research of preventive parenting programs has shown that these interventions generally have a positive influence on both parents and children. However, to our knowledge there is a gap in the scientific literature when it comes to randomized controlled trials of brief, manual-based structured programs which address general parenting among the population, and focus on promoting health. A four-session universal health promotion parent group program named All Children in Focus was developed. It aims at promoting parental competence and children’s positive development with the parent–child relationship as the target. There is currently no randomized controlled trial existing of the program.


A prospective multicenter randomized wait-list controlled trial is being conducted. Approximately 600 parents with children ranging in age from 3–12 years have been recruited in eleven municipalities and city districts in the County of Stockholm, Sweden. Parents are randomized at baseline to an intervention group, which receives the program directly, or to a waiting-list control group, which participates in the program six months later. Changes in parenting and child health and development are assessed with measures immediately post-intervention and six months after the baseline. Observations of a minor group of parents and children are conducted to explore possible relations between parental reports and observed behaviors, as well as changes in the interaction between parent and child. Further, data collected within the evaluation will also be applied to evaluate the possible cost-effectiveness of the program.


This paper describes a study protocol of a randomized controlled trial. Except for the quantitative outcome measures to evaluate the effectiveness of All Children in Focus, this protocol also describes health economic and qualitative analyses to deepen the knowledge of the program. We further discuss some issues regarding the implementation of the program in municipalities and city districts.

Trial registration

Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN70202532

Parenting programs; Parental self-efficacy; Child health; Development; Health promotion; Universal