Parenting interventions to prevent violence against children in low- and middle-income countries in East and Southeast Asia: A systematic review and multi-level meta-analysis

Authors: McCoy, A., Melendez-Torres, G.J., & Gardner, F.

Background: Currently, the strongest evidence for preventing violence against children lies with social learning theory-based parenting interventions. An increasing number of experimental studies on such interventions have been conducted in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in East and Southeast Asia.

Objective: To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis on the effectiveness of parenting interventions in preventing violence against children.

Participants and setting: Parents and primary caregivers living in LMICs in East and Southeast Asia.

Methods: Eleven studies were retrieved through electronic databases, expert contacts, and the reference sections of previous reviews. Studies were appraised for risk of bias and effect estimates pooled using random effects multilevel meta-analysis.

Results: Forty-four effect estimates were meta-analyzed based on five outcome category models, finding a small effect on abusive, harsh, or negative parenting (n = 3, d = -0.42, 95 % CI [- 0.81, -0.02], p < .01, I2 = 72 %); a large, non-significant effect on parental knowledge or attitudes (n = 5, d = 1.40, 95 % CI [-0.30, 3.10], I2 = 95 %); a small effect on positive parent-child interactions (n = 5, d = 0.25, 95 % CI [0.19, 0.32], p < .001, I2 = 0); a small, non-significant effect on parental stress (n = 2, d = -0.13, 95 % CI [-0.38, 0.11], I2 = 0); and a small, non-significant effect on family environment (n = 3, d = 0.21, 95 % CI [-0.12, 0.53], I2 = 85 %).

Conclusions: The results suggest that parenting interventions can reduce rates of particular forms of violence against children, as well as promote positive parent-child interactions.

Keywords: Child abuse; Child maltreatment; Cultural context; Mental health; Parenting; Violence.