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McMaster researchers tackling root causes of domestic violence The federal government is asking professors to evaluate the first Triple P program in Canada

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Photo by Kyle West

By: Areej Ali

The Trudeau government has granted over $3.4 million to McMaster researchers to fund a study that aims to identify and combat systemic causes of domestic violence.

Andrea Gonzalez, an assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences at McMaster, is currently overseeing the “Triple P” program, which stands for the positive parenting program.

Triple P is a public health parenting intervention initiative that aims to improve the “knowledge, skills and confidence of parents” while working to reduce the pervasiveness of emotional and behavioural problems in children.

The Triple P program is part of a larger project that originally began in Australia over 30 years ago.

Gonzalez will be evaluating preventative intervention of child maltreatment, leading one of the first Triple P program studies to be conducted in Canada.

“We have a number of main objectives but really we are looking at the impact of the Triple P in promoting family relationships and improving parenting practices and prevention of child maltreatment,” said Gonzalez. “The Triple P has been widely evaluated in multiple countries actually around the world, but it has never been evaluated in Canada.”

According to the Triple P program’s website, the program does not advocate how to be a parent, but rather provides tools and strategies to promote healthy families, focusing on children who are in the age bracket of three to eight years old.

The program is being implemented in Ontario and Manitoba.

It is anticipated  to entail a multi-method evaluation network and will most likely also consist of a ‘quasi experimental design’ in Ontario, according to Gonzalez.

This involves choosing various communities and areas that fit the age bracket and particular population sizes.

Community agencies will be asked to participate in the program and the evaluation will be facilitated in these specific communities.

There is one study to date that focused on efficacy of early intervention of child maltreatment. The McMaster researchers will be drawing information from and referring to this particular study.

Gonzalez hopes to study the impact of Triple P in fostering healthy and sustainable family relationships and and preventing child maltreatment at its roots.

McMaster students will have the opportunity to participate in the program.

For instance, Triple P will rely on “environmental scans,” specific type of data collection, regarding existing parental programs in Ontario.

Once the project is launched, there will be opportunities to contribute to the researchers’ collection of questionnaire data.

In addition, there will be opportunities to contribute to behavioural data and to be trained in techniques that will be used in the project.

Many teams on campus that work on family violence prevention, partner violence and other aspects of violence will also be able to aid in the evaluation.

For instance, the Triple P will be partnering with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative, an organization that has a site on the McMaster campus.

“They have all the data linkage,” Gonzalez  said. “We will certainly be partnering with those investigators as well as the ones in Toronto.”

For more information about the project, students can contact Gonzalez directly at gonzal@mcmaster.ca. Students can also visit the Triple P website to learn more about the program.

 

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