Evaluation of a Community-Based Peer-to-Peer Support Program for Parents of At-Risk Youth with Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties

Stacy Ann A. January, Kristin Duppong Hurley, Amy L. Stevens, Krista Kutash, Albert J. Duchnowski, Neftali Pereda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Parents of children with emotional and behavioral needs frequently experience difficulty navigating community-based services for their child, as well as experience increased stress and parental strain. Peer-to-peer support programs are an emerging approach to assist these parents, and evidence suggests that they are effective in increasing parents’ perceptions of social support, self-efficacy, and well-being. However, these programs often focus on parents of youth with diagnosed mental health disorders, despite the potential benefit for parents of youth who are at-risk for significant emotional and behavioral problems. In the current study, we used a pre-post design to evaluate a community-based, peer-to-peer support prevention program delivered via telephone to parents (N = 139) of youth with emerging behavioral and emotional difficulties. We evaluated (1) whether the intervention was delivered as designed, (2) the pre- and post-intervention gains in social support and concrete support, and (3) whether parents’ level of participation in the intervention and program adherence predicted outcomes. Results indicated that the intervention was delivered as intended and resulted in increased parental perceived social support and concrete support over time. Furthermore, higher levels of parental participation and intervention adherence were associated with increases in perceived social support. Thus, findings suggest that it may be beneficial for parents of at-risk youth with significant emotional and behavioral difficulties to engage in a peer-to-peer phone support prevention program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)836-844
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • At-risk youth
  • Parent support
  • Peer-to-peer support
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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