Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP)

Scientific Rating:
3
Promising Research Evidence
See scale of 1-5
Child Welfare System Relevance Level:
Medium
See descriptions of 3 levels

About This Program

The information in this program outline is provided by the program representative and edited by the CEBC staff. Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) has been rated by the CEBC in the area of: Parent Training Programs that Address Behavior Problems in Children and Adolescents.

Target Population: Parents of children - birth through adolescence

For parents/caregivers of children ages: 0 – 17

Brief Description

STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) is a multicomponent parenting education curriculum. The three STEP programs help parents learn effective ways to relate to their children from birth through adolescence by using parent education study groups. By identifying the purposes of children's behavior, STEP also helps parents learn how to encourage cooperative behavior in their children and how not to reinforce unacceptable behaviors. STEP also helps parents change dysfunctional and destructive relationships with their children by offering concrete alternatives to abusive and ineffective methods of discipline and control. STEP is offered in three separate programs covering early childhood, children ages seven through twelve, and teenagers. Each program contains a leader's resource guide, promotional tools, videos and parent handbooks.

Program Goals:

The goals of STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) are:

  • Increased ability to identify goals of misbehavior
  • Increased alternatives to misbehaviors
  • Increased encouragement skills
  • Increased skill in communication
  • Increased skill in cooperation (parental and child)
  • Increased skill in discipline
  • Increased skill in choosing parenting approach
  • Increase child self-esteem and confidence
  • Decreased inappropriate parental behaviors in disciplining children and teens

Essential Components

The essential components of STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) include:

  • STEP is intended for parent education study groups.
    • Parents share their concerns and learn that their problems are not unique.
    • Parents become aware that their own reactions and attitudes may have unintentionally influenced their children's unacceptable behaviors
  • STEP provides clear Course Objectives.
    • Parents gain an understanding of developmental sequences and their child's accomplishments.
    • Parents learn how children's belief systems are formed.
    • Parents learn to identify the four goals of misbehavior and how to foster positive results:
      • Attention
      • Power
      • Revenge
      • Inadequacy
    • Parents discover ways to build children's self-esteem through the process of encouragement
    • Parents develop an effective discipline system based on both firmness and kindness
    • Parents learn to deal with emotional problems and promote positive emotional growth

Parent/Caregiver Services

Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) directly provides services to parents/caregivers and addresses the following:

  • Dysfunctional and destructive relationships with children; abusive and ineffective methods of discipline and control.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Adoptive Home
  • Birth Family Home
  • Community Agency
  • Foster/Kinship Care
  • Hospital
  • Outpatient Clinic
  • Residential Care Facility
  • School

Homework

Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) includes a homework component:

Parents are directed to read a chapter each week from a short parent handbook. Activities each week include observations of their child's behavior and implementation of skills learned each week in the parenting group. Parents are asked to provide brief oral reports each week sharing their results.

Languages

Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) has materials available in a language other than English:

Spanish

For information on which materials are available in this language, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

None specified

Minimum Provider Qualifications

Trained in counseling, psychology, social work, the ministry, pediatrics, education, nursing, psychiatry, or similar areas. Ability to lead groups.

Education and Training Resources

There is a manual that describes how to implement this program, and there is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training is obtained:

On-site, regional

Number of days/hours:

One day for six contact hours

Implementation Information

Since Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) is rated on the Scientific Rating Scale, information was requested from the program representative on available pre-implementation assessments, implementation tools, and/or fidelity measures.

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Pre-Implementation Materials

There are no pre-implementation materials to measure organizational or provider readiness for Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP).

Formal Support for Implementation

There is formal support available for implementation of Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) as listed below:

A consultant is provided to assist with questions regarding implementation issues.

Fidelity Measures

There are fidelity measures for Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) as listed below:

Fidelity assessment includes a measurement tool for group settings. It is available through STEP Publishers, 800-720-1286 or steppublishers@gmail.com

Implementation Guides or Manuals

There are no implementation guides or manuals for Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP).

Research on How to Implement the Program

Research has not been conducted on how to implement Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP).

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

This program is rated a "3 - Promising Research Evidence" on the Scientific Rating Scale based on the published, peer-reviewed research available. The practice must have at least one study utilizing some form of control (e.g., untreated group, placebo group, matched wait list study) establishing the practice's benefit over the placebo, or found it to be comparable to or better than an appropriate comparison practice. Please see the Scientific Rating Scale for more information.

Child Welfare Outcome: Child/Family Well-Being

Show relevant research...

Hammett, V. L., Omizo, M. M., & Loffredo, D. A. (1981). The effects of participation in a STEP program on parents’ child-rearing attitudes and the self-concepts of their learning disabled children. The Exceptional Child, 28(3), 183-190.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 50 mother and child pairs

Population:

  • Age — Child: 5-8 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Predominantly White
  • Gender — Parent: 50 Female, Children: 39 Male and 11 Female
  • Status — Participants were mothers of children classified as learning disabled by educational guidelines.

Location/Institution: Texas

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study examined the efficacy of the Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) program on parent’s child-rearing attitudes for learning disabled children. Participants were randomly assigned to STEP treatment or to the control group. Both groups were tested two weeks prior to the treatment and two weeks after the treatment. Measures included the Parent Attitude Survey (PAS) and the Primary Self Concept Inventory (PSCI). Parents in the treatment group improved their PAS scores, particularly in the areas of Acceptance and Trust. Children’s PSCI scores also showed improvements in the areas of Personal Self and Social Self. The authors note that examination of programs variables is needed to determined reasons for lack of effects on other subscales. Limitations include small sample size and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 2 weeks.

Nystul, M. S. (1982). The effects of systematic training for effective parenting on parental attitudes. The Journal of Psychology, 112, 63-66.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 42

Population:

  • Age — 23-50 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — 100% Caucasian
  • Gender — 100% Female
  • Status — Participants were mothers who applied for STEP training based on media advertisements.

Location/Institution: Brisbane, Australia

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study examined the efficacy of the Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) program on parental attitudes. Mothers were randomly assigned to receive the STEP program, or to a wait-list control group. Pretests and posttests were done using the Attitude Toward the Freedom of Children Scale II (ATFC-II) and the Parent Attitude Research Instrument Q4 (PARI Q4). Mothers in the treatment group were found to be more democratic in their child-rearing attitudes after training. They also differed from control mothers on the Encouraging Verbalization and showed a decrease on the Strictness subscales of the PARI Q4. Limitations include sample size, lack of diversity and self-selection into the study by mothers and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Williams, R.E., Omizo, M. M., & Abrams, B. C. (November, 1984). Effects of STEP on parental attitudes and locus of control of their learning disabled children. The School Counselor, 126-133.

Type of Study: Randomized controlled trial
Number of Participants: 38 parents

Population:

  • Age — Parents: Not specified, Children: 9-12 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Parents: 100% White, Children: Not specified
  • Gender — Parents: 32 Female and 6 Male, Children: 28 Male and 10 Female
  • Status — Participants were volunteers with learning disable children recruited from a middle-to-upper-class suburban neighborhood.

Location/Institution: Los Angeles

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study examined the efficacy of the Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) program on parental attitudes. Parents randomly assigned to the STEP treatment or control condition were tested one week before and one week after the study period. Measures included the Parent Attitude Survey (PAS) and the Locus of Control Inventory for Three Achievement Domains (LOCITAD). Children in the treatment condition showed improvement relative to controls in all three domains. Parents PAS scores also improved on Trust, Acceptance, and Caution. Limitations include lack of diversity in the sample and self-selection and length of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 1 week.

Noller, P., & Taylor, R. (1989). Parent education and family relations. Family Relations, 38, 196-200.

Type of Study: Nonequivalent comparison groups
Number of Participants: 62

Population:

  • Age — Women: 25-46 years, Men: 26-51 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Not specified
  • Gender — Not specified
  • Status — Participants were parents who had already enrolled in one of two parent education programs (STEP or Parent Effectiveness Training).

Location/Institution: Australia

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study examined the efficacy of the Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) program on family relations. Parents were approached for the study if they were enrolled in either the STEP program or a Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) program. P.E.T. is a behaviorally based program. Participants completed the measures at the beginning or end of their course. Measures included demographic data, the Dyadic Adjustment Scale, the Parents Rating of Program Effectiveness, and the Areas of Change in Parenting Scale. Analysis showed that the two programs were seen as equally effective. Limitations include lack of direct measures of change in parenting or in children’s behaviors, lack of randomization, and length of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 8 weeks.

Jonyniene , J., Kern, R. M., & Gfroerer, K. P. (2015). Efficacy of Lithuanian Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) on parenting style and perception of child behavior. The Family Journal, 23(4), 392-406.

Type of Study: Pretest-posttest with a comparison group
Number of Participants: 647

Population:

  • Age — Parents: Average=36-37 years, Children: Average=8-9 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Parents: 94% Lithuanian and 6% Other; Children: Not specified
  • Gender — Parents: 88% Female and 12% Male, Children: 59% Male and 41% Female
  • Status — Participants were parents who volunteered to participate in the STEP program.

Location/Institution: Lithuania

Summary: (To include comparison groups, outcomes, measures, notable limitations)
This study examined the short- and long-term efficacy of the Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) on parents from Lithuania. Parents were assigned to either the STEP group (intervention) or the comparison group. Measures included Lithuanian STEP Parent Survey Form, the Parenting Styles and Dimensions Questionnaire–Short Form (PSDQ-Short Form), and the Adlerian Parental Assessment of Child’s Behavior Scale (APACBS). Results indicate parents of both genders demonstrated an increase in knowledge on parenting related to child’s misbehavior, encouragement, discipline, logical consequences, and so forth. After the intervention period, mothers decreased the use of authoritarian and permissive parenting styles and perceived the targeted child’s behavior as less emotionally charging with a decrease in peer-related problematic behavior. Limitations include lack of randomization, generalizability due to gender, and length of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 3-4 months.

References

Brooks, L. D., Spearn, R. C., Rice, M., Crocco, D., Hodgins, C., & Schaaf, V. (1988). Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP): An evaluation study with a Canadian population. Canada's Mental Health, 36, 2-5.

McInnis-Dittrich, K. (1996). Violence prevention: An ecological adaptation of Systematic Training for Effective Parenting. Families in Society, 77(1), 412-422.

Snow, J. N., Kern, R. M. & Penick, J. (1997). The effects of STEP on patient progress in an adolescent day hospital. Individual Psychology, 53(4), 388-395.

Contact Information

Name: Stephanie Dinkmeyer
Agency/Affiliation: STEP Publishers, LLC
Website: www.steppublishers.com
Email:
Phone: (800) 720-1286

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: November 2015

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: June 2014

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: March 2006