A quasi-experimental study of the respectful approach on early parenting competence and stress
Journal of Child and Family Studies
School of Medical and Health Sciences / School of Science
© 2020, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Early parenthood can be stressful. Many parenting interventions emphasize skills training, as opposed to improving the parent-child relationship. We investigated whether the Respectful Approach intervention, based on building the parent-child relationship through observation and respect, improves stress and confidence in parents of infants and toddlers. Using a quasi-experimental design, we compared changes in self-reported levels of stress and parenting competence between 15 parents who attended the Respectful Approach parent-child classes (once a week for six weeks), to a control group of 23 parents utilizing the ‘Parenting Sense of Competence Scale’, ‘Parental Stress Scale’ and ‘Depression Anxiety Stress Scales’. A focus group was held at the conclusion of the intervention to provide feedback about the classes. A significant Time × Group interaction was observed for both parent competence (p = 0.004) and parent stress (p = 0.010). Parents in the intervention group demonstrated a significant increase in parent competence (p = 0.001) with no significant change observed in the control group (p = 0.787). Parent stress significantly increased in the control group (p = 0.017) and marginally decreased in the intervention group (p = 0.134). Qualitative analysis revealed that the intervention parents felt they were calmer and better understood their children. These findings suggest that the Respectful Approach intervention may improve parental stress and parenting competence. Our results justify development of a randomized controlled trial to further quantify the effect of this approach.