Contact

Karen Henry
Life Span Institute
785-864-0756

Study shows that parenting improves with coaching via cell phone

Mon, 11/04/2013

LAWRENCE — In the first randomized trial of the effects of cell phone use, University of Kansas and Notre Dame researchers found that when parenting coaches texted and called mothers who had participated in a home-based parenting program, they were much more likely than the other mothers in the study to learn and use positive parenting strategies — both immediately following and six months after the program ended. They were less depressed and stressed than the control group who didn’t receive parent training as well as the mothers who did receive the same parenting program but without the cell phone component.

Judith CartaFurther, following the parenting program, their children were more adaptable, less anxious and had better communication and social skills, according to Judy Carta, KU professor of special education, who directed the study published in the November 2013 Pediatrics.

The study is the first to test the effectiveness of cell phones as a way of increasing parents’ engagement in home-based parenting programs and keep them from dropping out, said Carta.

“Parents who most need to learn positive ways to interact with their children are often the most likely to drop out of parenting programs,” she said. “Ultimately, this is about preventing child maltreatment by showing parents a different, more positive way to interact with their children.”

Kathryn BigelowThe intervention used in the study, Planned Activities Training, is a brief program —five 90-minute home-based sessions — aimed at preventing children’s challenging behavior by giving parents strategies to use in everyday routines around getting ready for school, bedtime and eating dinner.

Parent coaches, known as home visitors, texted mothers twice a day, five days a week as well as calling them at least once a week with reminders from the PAT program along with words of encouragement and suggestions for free activities available in the community that they could do with their children.

“The cell phone allowed the mother and the home visitor to become more connected, said Kathryn Bigelow, KU assistant research professor. “The texts and calls extended the home visits outside of the home.”

Steven WarrenWith the addition of the cell phone, this relatively short intervention had big effects on parenting, said Bigelow, and since the dropout rate was half of what it was for the group that didn’t include the cell phone component, the model is cost-efficient and really feasible, she said.

“In home visiting programs, parents typically miss about one out of three scheduled home visits,” said Carta, “so when we think about the cost benefit of including cell phones, we know that when parents don’t show up for home visits, it is really expensive for home visiting programs.”

Home visiting is part of the Affordable Health Care Act, said Carta. “That’s given states a whole new impetus to identify evidence-based home visiting programs. Our study will become part of that evidence base.”

The study was supported by the Injury Prevention Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, the AT&T Foundation and the Sprint Foundation.

Additional study collaborators are Steven Warren, KU vice chancellor for research and graduate studies, senior scientist and professor of applied behavioral science; John Borkowski, professor of psychology, and Jennifer Burke Lefever, assistant professor of psychology, University of Notre Dame. 



Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here: http://bit.ly/1awodaa
Rock Chalk! Junior Ashlie Koehn named KU's 18th Truman Scholar
Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

.@NYTimes columnist @WCRhoden will speak at a symposium about race and sports April 23. http://t.co/UiKA9MYNv0 http://t.co/PHwCOHqcfD
Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: http://bit.ly/1awodaa Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times