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KU Researchers Use Cellphones To Improve Parenting

A study by researchers at the Universities of Kansas and Notre Dame shows cell phones can be a powerful tool to help reinforce home-based parenting training.

The study focused on parents who experience higher levels of depression, stress and family violence. KU’s Judith Carta says these families need better parenting strategies, yet they’re most at-risk of dropping out of the very programs meant to help them.

“If your exposure in the past has been to negative styles of parenting, that’s really all you know," says Carta. "Some parents are amazed that there’s a different way that they can interact with their children. If they stay positive, then children learn a more positive way of responding back in turn.”

Carta says using cell phones to contact parents between home visits helps keep them engaged in the strategies they’re learning.

“We see this as a really inexpensive way to boost the effectiveness of parenting interventions that are really important for preventing child maltreatment and child abuse later on," she says.

The study appears in the November issue of the journal, Pediatrics

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