Assessing the transportability of a violence-prevention parenting program in three diverse country contexts

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Stewart-Tufescu, Ashley
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Globally, physical and emotional punishments are the most prevalent forms of violence against children. Parents often justify punitive violence as ‘discipline’. Not only is punitive violence a risk factor for physical and mental health issues; it is also a human rights violation. Parenting education is an important component of strategies to eliminate punitive violence. However, most programs have been developed and evaluated in Western contexts. There is little information about the process of transporting these programs or their performance in diverse contexts. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the transportability of Positive Discipline in Everyday Parenting (PDEP), a rights-informed parenting program aimed at reducing support for punitive violence. Through a multi-case study conducted in three highly diverse contexts, I assessed the process of transporting PDEP and examined preliminary evidence of its effectiveness. First, I explored the transportability of PDEP to the occupied Palestinian territories, a region beset by decades of conflict, where many parents have low levels of education. Despite substantial challenges in the transportation process, virtually all of the 216 Palestinian parents perceived PDEP as relevant and their support for punishment decreased over the course of the program. Second, I investigated the transportability of PDEP to Japan, a country with a strong emphasis on child obedience and family hierarchy – and where thousands of families were affected by the 2011 earthquake. PDEP was delivered to 141 mothers; 82 from the earthquake-affected region and the 59 from Tokyo. Transporting PDEP to Japan was a relatively straightforward process. Nearly100% of the mothers perceived PDEP as highly relevant and reported less support for punitive violence over the course of the program. Third, I evaluated the transportability of the PDEP Facilitator Training program to Indonesia with a sample of 86 volunteer community health workers with low levels of education. This was a complicated process requiring substantial program adaptation. Facilitators reported high satisfaction with PDEP and perceived it as helpful in reducing parents’ support for punitive violence. Together, these findings indicate that PDEP is transportable to highly diverse and challenging contexts and is a promising program for shifting attitudes toward punitive violence globally.
Physical punishment, Emotional punishment, Child rights, Palestine, Japan, Indonesia, Parenting, Child development, Discipline, Violence-prevention, Parenting programs, Punitive violence, Human rights