Parents' Consumer Preferences for Early Childhood Behavioral Intervention in Primary Care

Andrew R. Riley, Bethany L. Walker, Anna C. Wilson, Trevor A. Hall, Elizabeth A. Stormshak, Deborah J. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Objective: Early childhood parenting interventions are increasingly delivered in primary care, but parental engagement with those interventions is often suboptimal. We sought to better understand parents' preferences for the content and delivery method of behavioral health guidance in pediatric primary care and to determine the relationship of those preferences with demographic characteristics, child behavior problems, and parenting style. Methods: Participants were 396 parents of young children recruited from primary care offices. We collected measures of parental preferences (including behavioral topics, intervention strategies, and methods of delivery) for behavioral intervention in primary care, child behavior symptoms, parenting style, and demographic characteristics. Descriptive statistics were used to identify parents' most preferred behavioral topics and intervention delivery methods. We used a hierarchical regression approach to determine whether parenting style predicted parents' preferences beyond demographic and child-level factors. Results: Nearly all parents (96%) endorsed a behavioral topic (e.g., aggression) as important. Most preferred to receive intervention during routine medical appointments. Child behavior problems correlated with parents' overall interest in behavioral guidance, but clinically significant symptoms did not differentiate interest in any single topic. Socioeconomic factors and negative parenting practices predicted some parental preferences. Notably, lax parenting generally predicted higher interest in behavioral intervention, whereas hostile and physically controlling parenting predicted lower interest. Conclusion: Most parents are interested in behavioral guidance as part of primary care, but their preferences for the content and delivery of that guidance vary by known socioeconomic, child, and parenting risk factors. Tailoring intervention to parents' preferences may increase engagement with available interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)669-678
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • early childhood
  • family-centered care
  • integrated care
  • primary care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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