Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Programs for prevention of externalizing problems in children: limited evidence for effect beyond 6 Months post intervention
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS). Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
Show others and affiliations
2015 (English)In: Child and Youth Care Forum, ISSN 1053-1890, E-ISSN 1573-3319, Vol. 44, no 2, 251-276 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Preventing externalizing problems in children is a major societal concern, and a great number of intervention programs have been developed to this aim. To evaluate their preventive effects, well-controlled trials including follow-up assessments are necessary.

Methods: This is a systematic review of the effect of prevention programs targeting externalizing problems in children. The review covered peer reviewed publications in English, German, French, Spanish and Scandinavian languages. Experimental studies of standardized programs explicitly aiming at preventing externalizing mental ill-health in children (2–19 years), with outcome assessments at ≥6 months post intervention for both intervention and control groups, were included. We also included long-term trials with consecutive observations over several years, even in the absence of follow-up ≥6 months post intervention. Studies of clinical populations or children with impairments, which substantially increase the risk for mental disorders, were excluded.

Results: Thirty-eight controlled trials assessing 25 different programs met inclusion criteria. Only five programs were supported by scientific evidence, representing selective parent training (Incredible Years and Triple-P), indicated family support (Family Check-Up), and school-based programs (Good Behavior Game, universally delivered, and Coping Power, as an indicated intervention). With few exceptions, effects after 6–12 months were small. Long-term trials showed small and inconsistent effects.

Conclusions: Despite a vast literature, the evidence for preventive effects is meager, largely due to insufficient follow-up post intervention. Long-term follow up assessment and effectiveness studies should be given priority in future evaluations of interventions to prevent externalizing problems in children.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 44, no 2, 251-276 p.
Keyword [en]
meta-analysis, externalizing, prevention, mental health, child
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Psychology
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-110384DOI: 10.1007/s10566-014-9281-yISI: 000350872500007OAI: diva2:771034
Available from: 2014-12-12 Created: 2014-12-12 Last updated: 2015-04-21Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Smedler, Ann-CharlotteHjern, AndersWiklund, Stefan
By organisation
Department of PsychologyCentre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS)Department of Social Work
In the same journal
Child and Youth Care Forum
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and EpidemiologyPsychology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 144 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link