A Factorial Randomized Controlled Trial to Optimize User Engagement With a Chatbot-Led Parenting Intervention: Protocol for the ParentText Optimisation Trial

Authors:  Maria Da Graca Ambrosio, Jamie M Lachman, Paula Zinzer, Hlengiwe Gwebu, Seema Vyas, Inge Vallance, Francisco Calderon, Frances Gardner, Laurie Markle, David Stern, Chiara Facciola, Anne Schley, Nompumelelo Danisa, Kanyisile Brukwe, GJ Melendez-Torres


Violence against children (VAC) is a serious public health concern with long-lasting adverse effects. Evidence-based parenting programs are one effective means to prevent VAC; however, these interventions are not scalable in their typical in-person group format, especially in low- and middle-income countries where the need is greatest. While digital delivery, including via chatbots, offers a scalable and cost-effective means to scale up parenting programs within these settings, it is crucial to understand the key pillars of user engagement to ensure their effective implementation.

This study aims to investigate the most effective and cost-effective combination of external components to optimize user engagement with ParentText, an open-source chatbot-led parenting intervention to prevent VAC in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

The ParentText Optimisation Trial is the first study to rigorously test engagement with a chatbot-led parenting intervention in a low- or middle-income country. The results of this study will inform the final selection of external delivery components to support engagement with ParentText in preparation for further evaluation in a randomized controlled trial in 2024.


Link: www.researchprotocols.org/2024/1/e52145/