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Limited evidence that a brief education programme for parents of high-risk preschool children may reduce risk of internalising disorders in adolescence in girls but not boys

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Question: What are the long-term effects of a brief parent education programme given to preschool children with inhibited temperament?

Participants: In total, 103 adolescents (mean age 15 years, 60% female) whose parents were involved in a brief educational programme for children at risk of internalising distress when they were aged 3–5 years. Children had been eligible if they screened high on a maternal report measure of temperamental inhibition and were objectively observed to have behavioural inhibition on assessment.

Setting: Australia; initial recruitment date unclear.

Intervention: A brief parent educational programme (n=49) or no intervention control (n=54). The parent education programme included six, 90 min group sessions delivered by clinical psychologists, with focus on psychoeducation about internalising disorders, reducing parental overprotection and techniques to encourage in vivo exposure for the child. Parents were encouraged to continue to apply these techniques as the child matured.

Outcomes: Internalising disorders in adolescence, as assessed during a single assessment session with the adolescent and their mother and completion of online questionnaires. Current anxiety or depression disorders were diagnosed …

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  • Sources of funding National Health and Medical Research Council and Australian Rotary Health.

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  • Competing interests None.