Prevention of child mental health problems through parenting interventions in Southeastern Europe (RISE): study protocol for a multi-site randomised controlled trial

Authors:Tăut, D., Băban, A., Frantz, I., Dănilă, I., Lachman, J. M., Heinrichs, N., Ward, C. L., Gardner, F., Fang, X., Hutchings, J., Raleva, M., Lesco, G., Murphy, H., & Foran, H.



Childhood adversities, such as poor parental practices, exposure to violence, and risk behaviours strongly impact children’s future mental and behavioural problems. Adversities affect families living in disadvantaged environments and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to a greater extent than in high-income countries. Parenting programmes are an effective way to alleviate them, although their outreach and scalability is still limited in LMICs.


A multi-site randomised controlled trial will be conducted in North Macedonia, Republic of Moldova and Romania to test the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of an optimised version of the promising Parenting for Lifelong Health Programme for Young Children (PLH-YC, 5 sessions), against a standard lecture on parenting issues (control group, 1 session). At least 864 participants who report having children between 2 and 9 years old who display elevated levels of behavioural difficulties will be randomised on a 1:1 basis to the intervention and control groups. The primary outcome will consist of parent report of child oppositional aggressive behaviour. Post-test (four months) and follow-up (12 months) assessments will provide information on short- and longer-term effects of PLH-YC compared to the parenting lecture in the control group.


This randomised trial will test the efficacy of PLH-YC in alleviating child behavioural problems and assess the cost-effectiveness, transportability across three different cultural contexts, and potential for scalability of the programme.

KEYWORDS: Childhood adversities, North Macedonia, Moldova, Romania, Parenting for Lifelong Health Programme for Young Children