Common Sense Parenting (CSP) Learn at Home Kit: A Clinical Effectiveness Evaluation of a Commercially Available Video Training Program for Parents

Sean T. Smitham, Western Michigan University


Much has been made of the gap between psychotherapy research and clinical practice. Most current psychotherapy research is focused on what could be viewed as macro-level efficacy type issues, while practicing clinicians are often most concerned with micro-level effectiveness questions. The current study- an evaluation of a parent training (PT) program provides an example of how scientist-practitioners can contribute meaningfully to psychotherapy research by conducting small scale clinical effectiveness studies. Parent Training (PT) is a well established efficacious treatment approach for child disruptive behaviors and non-compliance. Recent research has also established that self-administered videotape PT programs may also be efficacious. A popular, commercially available, self-help video training program for parents { the Common Sense Parenting: Learn-at-Home Kit published by Boys Town Press - was the subject of this study. The results indicate that the CSP Learn at- Home Kit was largely ineffective in reducing child disruptive behaviors. Results are discussed in the context of the efficacy/effectiveness distinction and the clinical research/clinical practice gap. Hypotheses about why the CSP Learn-at-Home program may be minimally effective are provided.